Past Projects

THE INTERFERENCE, World Premiere by Lynda Radley (2016)

In a culture of amplified voices and distorted information where student athletes become celebrities, everyone has incentive to bury truth. When a survivor speaks up, can her truth rise above the noise?
Through the use of a live-mixed soundscape and set against the backdrop of the worldwide university campus sexual assault epidemic, The Interference follows one survivor’s struggle to make her story heard above all the noise. It explores the seemingly infinite source of opinion, commentary, and distorted or suppressed information that have become routine players in the aftermath of these incidents. The play also takes a closer look at the unique circumstances involved when student athletes are part of the story.   The Interference earned us our second Fringe First Award, this time accompanied by a Broadway Baby Bobby Award.  The Interference subsequently transferred to the Hollywood Fringe Festival in co-production with Rogue Machine Theatre.  The script is available for perusal or performance here.

FORGET FIRE, Devised by the Company with playwright J.C. Marshall (2014)
“The best story is the most fantastical story”
But when such a story on Facebook ends up making Jamie feel manipulated and powerless, she decides that getting offline is the only way to get back in control.

Inspired by magical realism, Forget Fire weaves together the language of myth, science, and actual web content to explore what happens when the things we imagine take on a life of their own.

Our pursuit of truthfulness and solidarity in the age of the internet moves through the crossing over places and along the paths and walls between worlds. It seeks sentries in this strange new landscape. Does technology create new challenges or just intensify age old struggles? Can we ever forget fire?

WHY DO YOU STAND THERE IN THE RAIN? World Premiere by Peter Arnott  (2012, 2013)
Pepperdine University returned to Scotland with this award winning production by Peter Arnott. Originally commissioned for the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the play opened to critical acclaim and appeared on a number of awards shortlists, winning a Scotsman Fringe First. An expanded version including two songs new to the Fringe production returned to tour the Central Belt and the Highlands from 31 May to 14 June 2013.

Based on the Bonus Army March of 1932 on Washington DC, Arnott’s play tells the story of what may have been the first Occupy Protest and march on the nation’s capital. 20,000 ragged and desperate First World War veterans and their families from all over the U.S. set up ‘Hoovervilles’ around the nation’s capital, to lobby Congress for the early release of a promised compensation package for services in the First World War. Congress voted no and Hoover called upon MacArthur and Patton to drive the veterans out of the capital. Armed with bullets and tear gas, 1,000 infantry and cavalrymen pushed the veterans out of Washington DC burning everything they owned.

Directed by Cathy Thomas-Grant with musical direction by composer and actor John Kielty, this documentary-style play with music builds on the Scottish Political Theatre legacy of live music performed by a talented ensemble. From the iconic anthem Over There to the songs of Woody Guthrie, Bessie Smith, Leadbelly and other contemporaries, this rich tapestry of tunes underscores the story of the veterans whose march on Washington D.C. led to the formation of the GI Bill. A stylistic tribute to the Scottish Political Theatre tradition, this true story for here and now is told in the words and songs of those who were there.  Winner: Scotsman Fringe First Award, Broadway Baby Bobby Award.  Final Shortlist: Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

ANON(YMOUS), UK Premiere by Naomi Iizuka (2012)

Separated from his mother, a young refugee called Anon journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people — some kind, some dangerous and cruel — as he searches for his family. From a sinister one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies to a sweatshop, Anon must navigate through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape in this entrancing adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey.

 

 

 


LANGUAGE OF ANGELS by Naomi Iizuka (2010)

An eerie cycle of ghost stories, set in the cave country of North Carolina. After a young girl is lost in a cave on the edge of town, there is a Rashomon-like investigation of her disappearance and the fate of those who survive her.

 

 

 

 

 

THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE by Karen Sunde (2010)

The astonishing and glamorous Jackie Cochran soared through life. She was the first woman to break the sound barrier; she battled the military to create WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), 1,000 women who risked their lives flying more than 75-million miles while testing and ferrying every military aircraft flown in World War II. She was named Business Woman of the Year, became a soul-mate to both Amelia Earhart and Chuck Yeager, and to this day she holds more flight records than any man or woman who ever lived. The Fastest Woman Alive whirls us through her adventurous life in dramatic and touching scenes giving us a picture of this quintessential American who began her life in hopeless circumstances, seized her dream, and achieved more than anyone imagined was possible.

THE KENTUCKY CYCLE, PARTS ONE AND TWO by Robert Schenkkan (2008)

In this series of nine short plays, Robert Schenkkan has created a mesmerizing epic of the Cumberland Plateau and an unblinking look at the truth behind our American mythology. Spanning two centuries, from 1775 to 1975, this is the story of three families – Black, White, and Native American – whose lives are irrevocably intertwined. From the darker realities of our pioneer heritage to the bloody lessons of the Civil War, from the inspiring battles between Union coal miners and deal-making management to the harsh environmental legacy of strip mining, THE KENTUCKY CYCLE chronicles the lives of people who use any means possible to care out a better place for themselves and their families in an often brutal, unpredictable world. It is a compelling and unsentimental look at the men and women who founded this country and a powerful allegory for our times.

MOBY DICK – REHEARSED by Orson Welles (2006)

There she blows! A stormy sky, an unforgiving sea and the sting of salt air. The infamous legend of a whaling voyage turned personal quest for revenge is reinvented for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Captain Ahab’s obsession pushes the crew through the treacherous Indian Ocean in pursuit of the whale who maimed him. The glistening edge of a sharpened harpoon pierces into the night as blood is spilt in this epic tale of enlightenment.
Herman Melville’s 1851 classic, adapted by Orson Welles is presented here as a play within a play. When a Victorian company of actors meet to rehearse King Lear the action is distracted by an invasive quest for a whale. Drawing a direct parallel between the Shakespearean protagonist and the classic monomaniac Pepperdine’s production questions leadership, trust and faith.

NECESSARY TARGETS by Eve Ensler (2006)

1995. The Bosnia Herzegovina war is officially over, but for a group of women refugees the struggle has only just begun. Eve Ensler’s NECESSARY TARGETS follows these survivors as they attempt to come to terms with the effects the war has had on their lives and country. This insightful drama is a vivid depiction of humanity in the face of devastation.
After three years of deadly conflict during which genocide returned to Europe the Dayton Summit brought an end to the Balkan war. NECESSARY TARGETS examines the role that the United States (under the Clinton administration) assumes in the global community. The President of the US appoints a doctor and a journalist to heal the wounds of genocide in the Balkans. Detailing the relationship between the doctor, the journalist and the women they meet, NECESSARY TARGETS is a story of women and modern-day world conflict.

AFTER THE FALL by Arthur Miller (2002)

Call it a mid-life crisis or a crisis amid life; Miller’s poignant memory play AFTER THE FALL deconstructs the illusions of the American ideal of freedom. The play tells a somewhat autobiographical story of Miller’s own personal past, set against the soured reality of the post-war McCarthy era of 1950s America. The narrator Quentin searches for redemption through relentless

self-examination. Love, lies, and suicide – what is the worth of a life? A gripping drama, AFTER THE FALL is Miller at his best – complex, dark, and cutting.

 

 

MR. HAPPINESS: THE WATER ENGINE by David Mamet (2002)

Set against the backdrop of Chicago’s 1934 world’s fair, these two radio plays guide the audience member into the theatre of the mind. In the true style of David Mamet, the play paints a picture of a desperate and obsessive landscape that is quintessentially American. In THE WATER ENGINE, a young inventor has a revolutionary idea that could change the world, or get him killed. With live sound effects, incisive characterizations and brilliant dialogue, as only Mamet can write, this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. In the companion piece, MR. HAPPINESS advises his listeners in matters of the heart.

 

 

Since 1985, the Pepperdine University Theatre Department has been performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Past shows have included the work of David Mamet, Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams, Charles Marowitz, Laura Shamus, Neil Bartlett and George Neilson.