2019-2020 SEASON

Avant Bard Theatre proudly presents Happenstance Theater (“DC’s leading peddlers of whimsy”-- WaPo), in BrouHaHa for one weekend only (December 6-8). The show is an existential escapade inspired by images of refugees fleeing on foot, Edwardian workers, cinematic treasures like La Strada and The Seventh Seal, and the dark comedy of Samuel Beckett. In this devised, clown-esque piece, Happenstance Theater's troupe of eccentrics walks the precipice at the end of the world. Their play lights up the darkness like a firecracker.

"The high level of ensemble work continues to impress. These multifaceted actors/singers/clowns/mimes and movement artists are so attuned to each other, it’s easy to
believe they’d be inseparable when the world ends." - J. Wynn Rousuck, NPR

Performance is 75 minutes with no intermission.

Featuring: Mark Jaster, Sabrina Mandell, Gwen Grastorf, Sarah Olmsted Thomas and Alex Vernon.

Happenstance Theater is a professional company committed to devising, producing and touring original, performer-created visual, poetic Theatre. Their ensemble is made up of multi-talented performers who craft all aspects of our work from concept to realization. They have been called “a gut-busting kind of funny” by the Washington City Paper. The Washington Post has called them “visually striking and whimsical without being precious,” saying they have “cornered the local theatrical market on joy.”

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SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Christopher Henley

Set in the hothouse of New Orlean’s Garden District, Suddenly Last Summer has all the hallmarks of a Tennessee Williams masterpiece: exotic locales, tortured psyches, glorious, lyrical language, and Williams' gift for creating vivid, unforgettable characters. An elderly socialite mourns the death of her poet son, who died under mysterious circumstances while vacationing at an island resort. Eager to protect her son’s image, she hires a doctor to silence the only witness to the tragic event--but the shattering truth fights its way to the surface, as it always does in Williams’ world. In the great Avant Bard tradition of providing audiences an opportunity to see something they may have read but have never seen--or have seen the movie version but have never seen it on-stage--audiences can learn first-hand what happened last summer, and experience the unique and exhilarating beauty of this quintessential Williams classic. Directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Henley, Suddenly Last Summer will be produced along with Ada and the Engine as a part of Avant Bard’s 30th Anniversary Spring Repertory.

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ADA AND THE ENGINE by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Megan Behm

Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate child of the amorous poet Lord Byron, had a love of her own: mathematics. Well, that...plus a certain polymath-inventor, Charles Babbage, famous as “the father of the computer.” It’s true that Babbage invented the hardware--the Analytic Engine--but the language, the song, the soul of the thing, the programming: that was all Ada. From prolific playwright Lauren Gunderson (author of the inspirational Emilie, which Avant Bard produced to great acclaim in 2017), Ada and the Engine is a whimsical scientific history that once again proves the future is, and has always been, female. Megan Behm, who staged last season’s uproarious hit A Misanthrope, will return to Avant Bard to direct Ada and The Engine as part of Avant Bard’s Spring Repertory, alongside Suddenly Last Summer.

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JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare

Directed by Kathleen Akerley

The story is all too familiar: Julius Caesar reunites Rome after a bloody civil war, and returns home to be crowned Emperor. His assassination is meant to restore Rome to former glory, but democracy cannot be rebuilt so easily. A classic, passionate story about what we’ll sacrifice for a chance at a better world. For our 30th Anniversary Season, we present Shakespeare's tragedy in a multimedia production that promises to be both epic in scope and rawly visceral in impact.

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