A world premiere production of "Medea" starring Annette Bening will kick off UCLA Live's 2009-10 season, announced artistic and executive director David Sefton Wednesday evening at Royce Hall. The play, the first-ever original production created by UCLA Live, will be directed by Croatia's Lenka Udovicki who is known for her opera and theater creations throughout Europe.
"When Lenka brought this project to me, I was thrilled. And the fact that an actress of the caliber of Annette Bening had signed on to play the lead just confirmed what a tremendous opportunity this was," said Sefton, who typically spends months traveling each year to find performances for UCLA Live. "For nine years we have been bringing extraordinary work to Los Angeles - this project lets us stretch in new directions as a producer. I am certain audiences are going to be blown away by the results."
Discounted series subscriptions to UCLA Live's 2009-10 season - a wide-ranging slate of pop music, jazz, world music, dance, spoken word and theater - are on sale now. Tickets to individual events go on sale July 22. Performances are in Royce Hall or the Freud Playhouse, both on the UCLA campus.
"Medea's" four-week run from Sept. 23 to Oct. 18 will anchor UCLA Live's Eighth InterNational Theatre Festival, which includes six other productions through December. The renowned Druid Ireland theater company returns to the festival this year with the West Coast premieres of two plays: "The Walworth Farce" (Nov. 11 to 15) and "The New Electric Ballroom" (Dec. 2 to 6). The two plays, which won back-to-back Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007 and 2008, are both by Enda Walsh, who is being hailed in the U.K. and Ireland as one of the great playwrights of his generation.
From Oct. 28 to 31, Italy's provocative Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio will present "Purgatorio," the visually and emotionally stunning centerpiece of director Romeo Castellucci's "Divine Comedy"-inspired theater trilogy. The series has attracted rapt attention from audiences and critics in London, Brussels and Avignon over the last year. UCLA Live was one of its co-commissioners, and this will be "Purgatorio's" exclusive U.S. engagement.
The InterNational Theatre Festival also will include radical works by two Polish theater companies - TR Warszawa's "T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T." Nov. 18 and 19 and Teatr Zar's "Triptych" Dec. 1 to 3 - and the all-teenage cast production of "Once and For All We're Going to Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen" by Belgian theater company Ontroerend Goed Nov. 3 to 7.
L.A.-based Latino performance troupe Culture Clash will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a gala performance at Royce Hall on Oct. 30 featuring guest performers such as Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, comedian Carlos Mencia, singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked, actor Edward James Olmos and many others. In addition to music and comedy, the evening will include a preview of the next Culture Clash theater project, "Palestine, New Mexico."
Building on the tremendous success of spoken word events last season, UCLA Live this year will offer two series of readings, lectures and conversations with leading writers. The first features literary icons Afghanistan-born novelist Khaled Hosseini (Sept. 30), Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood (Oct. 9), Mexico's essayist and novelist Carlos Fuentes (Dec. 12) and Pulitzer-winning American poet Mary Oliver (Feb. 25). The second series is focuses on the world of graphic novels, and includes a rare appearance by R. Crumb (Oct. 29), Neil Gaiman (Feb. 4), and Harvey Pekar with Allison Bechdel (April 23). David Sedaris, for the 12th consecutive season, also will return to Royce Hall on May 5.