By Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer
Baylor Theatre is premiering its adaptation of “Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play” this week. The originally three-act play, which has been divided into two acts for the Baylor stage, will be Baylor Theatre’s final production of the season, premiering at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Mabee Theatre in the Hooper–Schafer Fine Arts Center.
The show is known for its post-nuclear war meltdown setting, which derives from an episode of famous animated comedy “The Simpsons.” The setting creates an atmosphere that requires its characters to come together as a community.
Director Lisa Denman, professor of directing, said the decision to conclude the Baylor Theatre season with “Mr. Burns” was intentional.
“With every season, we always try to keep a nice balance between old, new, comic and dramatic plays. And this season is no exception,” Denman said. “With ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Crazy for you,’ we tackled some more traditional texts, and then ‘Anna Karenina’ was an old story told in a new way. ‘This Random World’ and ‘Mr. Burns’ are new plays.”
Denman said the Mr. Burns plot is based on an episode of “The Simpsons,” highlighting themes of togetherness in a community seven years after a nuclear fallout, and then 70 years after in Act 3.
“The play is dealing with how we create community, and how stories define us and give our lives meaning,” Denman said.
According to Denman, Baylor’s interpretation of the play is molded to its cast and its setting, which creates a cheery rendition of darker themes.
According to Denman, the play is very active. She said she was excited for opening night.
“I’m so excited for the actors to have some audience response. They have worked incredibly hard. The show requires acting, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments, so I’m looking forward to the energy that an audience brings,” Denman said.
Waco freshman Henry Beard, a member of the backstage crew, works on the fly-rail, which means he will be moving set pieces on and off the stage throughout the production.
Beard said being able to work on this show in particular was very meaningful for him.
“This is the last show where a lot of seniors were cast in the show … so there’s a lot of meaning as a student … because it’s my last chance to work with these special people,” Beard said. “What this show does as a play, besides tells a great story — it allows us to try new things. What is great about theatre is that, when we make mistakes, we are celebrated,” Beard said.
The show will elaborate touch on themes like escaping from reality and explore the depths of coping in a post-nuclear world.
Beard said the play, especially Baylor’s interpretation, is a great example of a raw and honest story.
“This play is a good example of how theatre is a facet for story telling,” Beard said. According to Denman, the production process has been a fun and exciting experience for everyone involved.
“It is a really interesting play, in that each act has its own personality. It has been a little like directing three short plays,” Denman said. “ I have an amazing production team and amazing actors, so it has been a real joy to get to work on this play with all of them.”
The cast of Mr. Burns will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Mabee Theater in the Hooper–Schafer Fine Arts Center.