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Blockbuster Season

A New Show Created by Mugwumpin
Directed by Susannah Martin

Photos by Pak Han
Trailer by Angelo Leotta

Presented by Mugwumpin
Co-Produced by Intersection for the Arts
September 25 – October 18, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE “It’s a fast, compact, testosterone-fueled and -foolish delight… Estlack and White rapidly segue from one character to another with smooth, quick definition and graceful, sometimes fierce physicality… you can’t miss the evocative humor and impact of the result.”— Robert Hurwitt

Artistic Director + Director Notes
CHRISTOPHER WHITE, Artistic Director: When poor Idris Elba, as Stacker Pentacost in the monsters-vs-robots movie Pacific Rim, addresses his troops and says “We have chosen not only to believe in ourselves but in each other,” I couldn’t help but feel for this excellent actor spouting Cheez Whiz. Part of what makes this statement so eye-rolling is that most movies depicting mass mayhem encourage us not to believe in ourselves, and certainly not in each other. We should believe, we are told, in The Hero. He (nearly always he) will deliver us to safety.

A few weeks ago, as the Valley Fire ripped through Lake County, a friend in Oakland noticed a man in line next to her looking visibly shaken. She asked if he was okay, and he described to her his harrowing escape, hours before, from a campsite in the fire’s path. Abandoning much of his gear, he waved down a passing pickup, tossed in his backpack, and jumped into this stranger’s vehicle. Who was driving that pickup truck? I’m guessing it wasn’t Stacker Pentacost. Was that person a hero? Or just a human seeing another human in distress? Probably nobody will make a movie about that story, but I still find it moving.

SUSANNAH MARTIN, director: When Chris, Joe and I first began working on this material at the end of 2013, we put together what we deemed The Playlist: a flip book, if you will, of moments and images, sounds and movement, and first stabs at the speeches and tropes that surround disasters and disaster movies.  What came out of that first workshop—and our first showing—was a collection of frenetic, anxious, funny, dark, and very masculine bits, punctuated by silences. Silences which evoked those moments, after the loudness of an earthquake, or a hurricane, or a fire, where the movement of the world has stopped and all you are left with is debris and fallout. And yet, there is still the possibility of something more—something different that can arise from that emptiness.

So much material has been generated and molded—has been shaped or has morphed—since those first few days that the three of us sat together in a cold room, in the midst of winter darkness, and pondered the disasters and blockbusters that have shaped our worldviews.  But the sound and the fury punctuated by silence remains—and I hope too, so does the possibility of something different arising…

Mitch in White / Joseph Estlack*
Mitch in Blue / Christopher Ward White
The Camera Operator / Melusina Gomez

*Member of AEA

Assistant Director / Michelle Talgarow
Assistant Set Design / Daniel Brickman
Assistant Stage Manager / Sienna Williams
Choreographer / Natalie Greene
Costume Design / Ashley Holvick
Lighting Design / Ray Oppenheimer
Properties Design / Devon LaBelle
Set Design / Sean Riley
Sound Design / Theodore J.H. Hulsker
Stage Manager / Katherine Bickford
Video Design / Wolfgang Lancelot Wachalovsky