By Jesse Shira – Collegiate Staff
Lights are being hung, costumes pressed, and the stage set at Spectrum Theater for the Actors’ Theatre premiere of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” this weekend.
“Mr. Burns” is a three act play that takes place in three time periods. The first takes place directly after nuclear meltdowns and the collapse of civilization where survivors try to piece together the plot of The Simpsons episode “Cape Feare” from memory. Act two takes place seven years later, where this, along with other parts of pop culture like commercials, pop songs, and other sitcom plots are now the live entertainment of this post-apocalyptic society trying to hold onto the past. The final act of the play takes place 75 years later, where these plays have become the legends from which new forms of performance are created.
“It’s really about how live storytelling is something that humans need to do, not something they just pay $150 on broadway to go see but it’s something necessary to the human condition,” said Director Randy Wyatt. “Because we are so separated by cell phones we tend to look at theatre as quaint and something that is more of a luxury when actually it was always something very important to society and I think the show evokes that about life.”
Jesse Aukeman plays Gibson in “Mr. Burns.” He said the best part is that the actors get to do many different varieties of theater performance.
“It crosses genres, features music and dancing, it’s campy and serious, it’s scary, it’s funny,” Aukeman said. “It’s just a whole smorgasbord of opportunities for actors and for the audience too.”
The show opens on Sept. 29 and runs through the next weekend, closing on Oct. 8. Each performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Community College Spectrum Theater. Tickets cost $28 for adults and $22 for students/seniors with student rush tickets for $10, an hour before the performance.
Upcoming shows this season for Actors’ Theatre include Green Day’s American Idiot, “Hand to God,” “Disgraced,” and “Hit the Wall.”Tickets to “Mr. Burns” and other upcoming shows can be purchased online or by calling the box office at (616) 234-3946.