MCLA Spring Theatre Season Kicks Off With 'Topdog/Underdog'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts theater program kicks off its spring season with Suzan-Lori Parks' "Topdog/Underdog."
The play will be directed by visiting guest artist Rodney Creech, with student John Archer-Harvey serving as assistant director.
"Topdog/Underdog" opens on Friday, March 6, with additional shows on March 7, 10, 11, and 12. All performances begin at 8 p.m. There will be additional matinee performances at 2 p.m. on March 7 and 8. A talk-back with Creech and the cast will be held after the March 8 matinee performance. General admission tickets are $15.
The play explores the lives of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, locked in a battle of wits over a game of Three-card Monte while struggling to come to terms with their identities. With her trademark explosive language, Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama explores the deepest of connections, and what it means to be a family of man.
"I can't say enough how beautifully the play is written … simple, intense, and emotional," Creech said.
The show will highlight student actors Neo Valentin and Devin A. Gibbs. As the only actors in the play, the pair carry the weight of the entire story. Set inside a literal and metaphorical cage, the piece sees them feeding off each other, facing both external and internal adversity. The show emphasizes the struggles of family, relationships, dysfunction, poverty, and abandonment.
Creech is pleased to return to MCLA as an adjunct professor in theater. Over the course of his professional career, he has worked as an actor and a director, and well as an instructor. Directing "Topdog/Underdog" has been a dream of his since the play received national recognition, and was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, in 2002. Creech was last seen at MCLA in the 2017 production of "Passing Strange," playing the role of Stew. He holds a master's degree in theatre from West Virginia University and a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.