MIT Music and Theater Arts Presents
Fefu and Her Friends
by María Irene Fornés
Directed by Jay Scheib
Rehearsals begin — Sept 29 with Performances 4,5,6,7,12,13,14 November 2020
Virtual Auditions — Sept 10, 11 and 15
Drop in here! https://mit.zoom.us/j/91997410247
and/or by arrangement - we're flexible - contact Jay Scheib at email@example.com for info!
Image: Rian Flynn, '21
Several old friends and friends of friends gather at Fefu’s New England country home in the late 1930’s to prepare a gala performance. Theirs is a theater meant to reflect life itself and their conversations, their actions, their dances accelerate into an evening of unflinching dialogue at the heart of their experiences of gender, intimacy, sex, trauma, identity, class and joy. Rifleshots, water balloons, and hallucinations ensue in this meteoric work of environmental theater. Fefu and Her Friends is an at times unsettling laugh-until-you-cry-comedy but an all-the-time thought provoking tour de force for the soul.
With Scenic design by Afsoon Pajoufar, Video and Interactive Design by Josh Higgason, Lighting by Kevin Fulton, Sound design by Christian Frederickson, Technical Direction by Stephanie Rodemann, Production Coordination by Miguel Flores, Costume design by Shanise DeSilva, Choreography by Dan Safer, this stage is managed by Margaret Kosten.
Seeking 8 Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and currently based in any physical location for a live cinema, live streaming performance of María Irene Fornés meteoric play, Fefu and Her Friends. Directed by Theater Arts Professor, Jay Scheib with performances November 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14. Auditions by request, please contact Jay Scheib at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kaley Bachelder email@example.com to organize a time or follow this link! Actors participating in Fefu and Her Friends may register for practicum credit by arrangement.
There are also a number of exciting “behind the scenes” opportunities to participate for practicum credit. Please reach out to Jay Scheib to arrange — firstname.lastname@example.org — Participation in the fall production for practicum credit is an opportunity for students to collaborate with Theater Arts faculty, staff and guest artists in any of the following areas of production: Directing, Producing, Stage Management, Production Management, Outreach, Choreography, and in the digital aspects of all design fields — for Fefu and Her Friends we are especially interested in students who would like to get involved in the „virtual“ space of digital design and the fabrication of virtual environments, remote cinematography, lighting, digital prop design, sound, video and costume design, live video editing and real-time effects processing.
Fefu: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and physical locations. An adventurous intellectual with a penchant for anarchy, lonely in her brilliance, likes it loud, charming ringleader, not so happily married, knows how to bring the party, happens to have a have a rifle and knows how to use it.
Cindy: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and physical locations. One of Fefu’s super fans, an instigator who stays out of the fray, making her way through a difficult divorce, wants to break free and might maybe tonight’s the night.
Christina: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all ethnicities abilities, and physical locations. Cindy’s friend. Steps out of her comfort zone. Curious, skeptical and a bit obtuse. When the water balloons start to fly she prefers to hide under the couch.
Julia: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all ethnicities abilities, and physical locations. Suffers lucid dreams, hallucinations and relates to characters no one else appears to see. Initially in a wheelchair, though later walks comfortably over the stage. Deeply complex. Epicene.
Emma: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all ethnicities abilities, and physical locations. Dynamo with a trust fund. Is Physical. Energetically around the room. Colorful. Loves. Dance. Loves a waterfight.
Paula: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and physical locations. Apparently still in love & still not over Cecilia. A poetic philosopher at heart, maybe an artist, full romantic, not from money, profoundly gifted intellectually.
Sue: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and physical locations. Alive like the the loveliest of empaths, flirtatious to a fault, sensitive, vivacious, on a beam of light and a smile.
Cecilia: Female, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performers of all race and ethnicities, abilities, and physical locations. Runs hot and cold and hot and cold. Floats a bit above the messiest emotions, not aloof. She was in love with Paula but left her some time ago, Is over it, happy to light up the party and does, happy to be among friends.
Several old friends and friends of friends gather at Fefu’s New England country home in the late 1930’s to prepare a gala performance. For a theater meant to reflect life itself their conversations, their actions, their dances accelerate into an evening of dialogue at the heart of their experience of gender, intimacy, sex, trauma, class and joy. Rifleshots, water balloons, and hallucinations ensue in this meteoric work of environmental theater. Fefu and Her Friends is an at times unsettling laugh-until-you-cry-comedy and an all-the-time thought provoking tour de force.
Fefu and Her Friends is presented as a 90 minute live cinema-streaming-performance for eight female, nonbinary and/or gender nonconforming performers via remote cameras and real-time effects processing live-streamed for a remote audience—promising that performances from afar have never felt more intimate, never more close. Their conversations draw us to the kitchen, into the bath, through the bedroom and into the garden, we snuggle up to Julia, walk hand in hand with Paula to the patio, have words in the living room, dance in the study and race up the stairs of Fefu’s home in New England—the luxurious Gropius Haus. In the final act, after the rifle shots and the arguments we’ll find ourselves once again in no real place, but witness to one another. Having made a difference, having heard, and having seen one another. Speaking freely and compassionately at last. Eschewing distance in the name of expression, and anyway, as Cecilia says, “We cannot survive in a vacuum. We must be part of a community...”
Fefu and Her Friends, for which Ms. Fornés was given one of her nine Obie Awards, was first produced by the New York Theatre Strategy at the Relativity Media Lab, New York City, on May 5, 1977. The stage design was created by Linda Conaway with lighting by Candice Dunn, and costumes by Lana Fritz.
“When I’m not doing something that comes deeply from me, I get bored. When I get bored I get distracted and when I get distracted, I become depressed. It’s a natural resistance, and it ensures your integrity.” — María Irene Fornés
Maria Irene Fornés (1930-2018) was born in Havana, Cuba, and first came to New York City in 1945. Her first play, Tango Palace, was produced in 1963. She wrote more than three dozen works for the stage. Among her most celebrated plays are Promenade, The Successful Life of 3, Fefu and Her Friends, The Danube, Mud, The Conduct of Life, And What of the Night?, Abingdon Square, The Summer in Gossensass and Oscar and Bertha. Four volumes of her plays, Promenade and Other Plays, Fornés Plays, What of the Night and Selected Plays, and Letter from Cuba and Other Plays, have been published by the Performing Arts Journal and other plays have appeared in various anthologies. Ms. Fornés is known for having directed most of her own plays. In addition to her own works she directed plays by Calderon, Ibsen, Chekhov and contemporary authors, including Leo Garcia, Cherrie Moraga and Caridad Svich. Ms. Fornés was the recipient of eight Obie Awards, one of which was for Sustained Achievement in Theater. She received a Distinguished Artists Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation grants, a Guggenheim grant, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Literary Award, a New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was also a TCG/PEW Artist-in-Residence at Women’s Project & Productions.Ms. Fornés conducted playwriting workshops in theaters and universities in the United States and abroad. From 1973-79, she was the managing director of the New York Theatre Strategy. From 1981-1992, she was Director of the INTAR (International Arts Relations) Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Laboratory, a national program to stimulate and develop writing abilities of Hispanic playwrights. Her students have won Obie Awards, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Fornés taught at some of America’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, Princeton, Brown, Wesleyan, and Iowa, and led workshops at leading theatres, such as the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland.