MFA in Performance: Festival of New Works

MFA in Performance

Festival of New Works
February 1 - 16, 2013
MFA in Performance Cohort
MFA in Performance photos by Walter Dallas

Event Attributes

Estimated Length: 
One hour per piece (Two or three hours total per night)
Program Notes: 

In the grand finale of their studies in the MFA in Performance (MFAP) program, the members of the inaugural MFAP class will showcase seven new works. Each MFAP student will perform an individual piece that showcases his or her own writing, research and performance.

This small group of talented theatre artists, who came to the program with experiences ranging from regional theatre to Broadway, have prepared hour-long works grounded in their own experiences, personal artistic visions and their three years of MFA in Performance training.

“Independent-thinking theatre students like these have the capacity to change the nature of the field,” said Leslie Felbain, interim head of the MFA in Performance program. “Their performances will be just a preview of what’s to come as they turn their talent and passion to new careers and even greater artistic accomplishments.”

  • February 1 & 2: Works by Caroline Clay and Anu Yadav
  • February 8 & 9: Works by Rob Jansen and Dave Demke
  • February 15 & 16: Works by Nick Horan, Claudia Rosales and Teresa Bayer

Each individual piece will be one hour or less; the final weekend’s program of three works may be up to three hours in length.


Friday, February 1, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 2, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM

Caroline Clay: Let it Flo!

Let it Flo! Is a celebration of the courage it takes to truly be free. Can you ever, especially as you age, come to terms with the often-unpopular choices that afford such freedom? When you choose to live fiercely, publicly and out loud, what happens when your legacy of achievement and struggle is erased from history? This is an invitation to find the place in all of us that is willing to forgive.

Anu Yadav: Meena’s Dream

With one actress and three musicians, Meena’s Dream is a coming-of-age tale about seven-year-old Indian American Meena, as seen through the fantastical landscape of her own imagination. Meena’s only wish is for her mother Aisha to be well, while Hindu God Lord Krishna seeks Meena’s help in his hour of need. In an epic conversation with God, Meena wrestles with life’s unanswerable questions of mortality, suffering and God’s own existence. Her quest is set to a live, original score combining South Indian classical music, contemporary jazz and indie rock.


Friday, February 8, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 9, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM

Rob Jansen: The Tramp’s New World

From his office atop the 50th floor of the Chrysler Building, Pulitzer Prize winning author James Agee struggles to complete a screenplay that tells the story of Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character as the lone survivor of a super atomic blast. Using projection, physical comedy, music and silent film technique, The Tramp’s New World adapts a lost screenplay for the stage described as “so dark it was without precedent” and tells the story of a writer’s struggle to find redemption through his art.

David Demke: Sacred Soil

Sacred Soil poses a question: “Can we be redeemed by violent means?” The play tells the story of a young man struggling to make sense of the violence that is around him and a part of him. In the end, what is revealed to him suggests the truth about hope and love. Demke says, “With this story, I want to show that the landscape of the human heart is also harsh and beautiful, complex and paradoxical, and it is the spiritual path that makes sense of it all.”


Friday, February 15, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 16, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM

Nick Horan: The Sound Of Smoke

Using projections and shadow play, this theatrical event challenges the audience’s conception of sexuality, truth and identity. Dance movement, song, text and imagery will illuminate a dark period in the world’s history that in many ways mirrors our world today. Horan says, “I want to engender an environment of glorious decay right on the edge of collapse and in doing so allow the audience to walk the tightrope with me as I portray a transvestite who loved too hard and lost it all.”

Claudia Rosales: Café

When Erendira’s brother, Miguel, tracks her down after three years in order to tell her of their beloved Abuela’s death, she begins a journey of forgiving both her brother and herself. In the play, Rosales uses the ritualistic tradition of preparing Cuban coffee as a way to symbolize the struggle of constructing cultural identity for many first-generation Americans as they reconcile familial obligation with individual desire. “through flashback, dream-like lighting, verse, music, movement and food I want to arouse in people the desire to question their own cultural upbringing.”

Teresa Ann Virginia Bayer: Coffee And Biscuit

Coffee & Biscuit is a Technicolor variation on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House set in the 1950’s in which we see Nora Helmer’s perfect world of Hoovers and Jell-o molds topple around her. This physical, quirky romp, featuring both puppets and live actors, provokes its audience to examine the gender roles constructed by society and the media, by putting Ibsen’s classic story against 20th century feminist thought, playfully tearing at the seams of convention.

Preview by The Gazette

“The idea is that it builds and that there are smaller levels of the projects,” [Leslie] Felbain said. “The students wrote these pieces, they are working with designers, with all of the production elements, directing production teams, [and] performing in their’s a good evolution of what they’ve been [doing].”

– CARA HEDGEPETH, The Gazette, Thursday, January 31, 2013

Preview by The Washington Examiner

The performances are part of a unique program, the Master of Fine Arts in Performance, created to train self-sustaining, entrepreneurial theater professionals..."We're really focusing on the artist/scholar/teacher and the artist/entrepreneur," said [Leslie] Felbain. "We are trying to train people who can write and teach."

– BARBARA MACKAY, The Washington Examiner, Saturday, January 26, 2013