“You think you are doing one thing
it turns out you have been doing something else entirely
life has no plot
you only think it does”
– Francois from Summertime by Charles Mee
Berkeley, CA – UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies is excited to open its Fall 2014 Semester Season with Summertime by Charles Mee, directed by Christopher Herold. Summertime runs October 17-26 in Zellerbach Playhouse. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.
“Summertime deals with what is possibly the greatest of human endeavors and concerns: Love. It investigates the ways in which love sustains, tempts, eludes, saves, and, sometimes, destroys us,” said Herold. The play focuses on the many manifestations of love and is a collage of heightened and poetic language, music, singing, dancing and movement. Part comedy and part tragedy, it paints a complex and soulful portrait of human behavior.
“Summertime is a monumentally theatrical piece, both hilariously funny and profoundly moving,” said Herold. The subject matter is something with which everyone is probably familiar, yet the multi-faceted script provides new insights into the subject. The production will be quite beautiful, with a marvelous team of designers.”
Summertime will allow a diverse cast of 13 UC Berkeley student actors rich training and performance opportunities. “I think the play deals with a significant subject in powerful ways,” said Herold, “providing actors with an opportunity to work with material that is challenging in the best way and which requires a profound engagement emotionally, physically, and intellectually.”
Herold is a longtime TDPS Lecturer who has directed numerous plays in the department, including Mee’s Orestes in Fall 2001. He was drawn to direct Summertime because he is intrigued both by Mee’s unique construction of plays and the playwright’s views on the accessibility and creation of art.
Mee freely borrows from sources as diverse as classical plays, contemporary texts and pop culture. All of his plays can be found online at his website, “the re-making project,” where he encourages writers to borrow from his work while creating their own new works. In casting his plays, he asks directors to assemble the broadest ensemble of actors, who reflect the diversity of the present-day world. “There is not a single role in any one of my plays that must be played by a physically intact white person,” said Mee in his note on casting. “And directors should go very far out of their way to avoid creating the bizarre, artificial world of all intact white people, a world that no longer exists where I live, in casting my plays.”
He wrote Summertime for the Magic Theater in San Francisco, where it received its world premiere in 2000. The play is a companion piece to Wintertime, which TDPS staged in 2007.
Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $13 online in advance, $15 at the door. ID required. General Admission: $18 online in advance, $20 at the door.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at tdps.berkeley.edu and at the Zellerbach Playhouse box office one hour before the performance.
Summertime Publicity Photos: