IU Theatre’s AT FIRST SIGHT presents new works by emerging voices in American theatre

February 29, 2015

Bloomington, Ind – Since 2011, Indiana University has recruited one MFA playwriting candidate per year, committing to support the development of that writer over a three-year period and, crucially, to produce their work on IU Theatre’s mainstage. For the fourth consecutive year, At First Sight will present two fully produced new plays in repertory.

Under the tutelage of Visiting Head of Playwriting, Peter Gil-Sheridan, MFA playwrights Mauricio Miranda and Bruce Walsh have utilized readings and workshops to develop these works over the last six months.

This year’s plays – Occupants, by Miranda, and Berserker, by Walsh – provide a unique chance for IU audiences to experience two distinct, emerging voices in American theater.

Third year MFA playwright, Mauricio Miranda, grew up in Peru, only learning English fluently after immigrating to the United States on an athletic scholarship. He later pursued acting in New York, along with an M.A. in religious studies.

Influenced by the fluid, expressive storytelling of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jose Rivera, and Naomi Iizuka, Occupants is the story of a Peruvian mother and daughter striving to create their own version of the American dream, while wrestling with past trauma, and colliding head-on with the 2011 Occupy Movement in New York City.

Bruce Walsh hails from Philadelphia, where he worked as a journalist and his plays were frequently featured in Philly’s Fringe and Live Arts Festivals.

In Berserker, a 36-year-old idealistic schoolteacher hits the Appalachian Trail in search of a profound union with nature. But when he discovers that nature can be brutal and uncomfortable, he instead seeks that perfect union in his own romantic fantasies. Inspired by Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Berserker is the story of an extremely modern man searching for the courage to transcend life’s eternal fears, disappointments, and desires.

Third-year MFA director David Koté will direct Berserker in the intimate 60-seat Studio Theatre. Kote comes to this project directly on the heels of helming the mainstage production of Macbeth, as well as last season’s In the Red and Brown Water.

Second-year MFA director, Katie Horwitz, will direct Occupants in the more spacious 240-seat Wells-Metz, a space she knows very well; she directed a modern dance-inspired production of Antigone there last semester.

At First Sight, a repertory of new plays by Mauricio Miranda and Bruce Walsh

Occupants: March 25, 26, and April 1 @ 7:30 p.m., Matinee on April 2 @ 2 p.m.
Berserker: March 29, 30, 31, and April 2 @ 7:30 (Due to the short run and theatre capacity, Berserker is already sold out.)

Occupants: Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
Berserker: Studio Theatre (2nd floor), Lee Norvelle Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for seniors. 812.855.1103 or theatre.indiana.edu.