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Mr. Burns

Mr. Burns
Your Price: $26.95 CDN
Author: Anne Washburn
Publisher: Theatre Communications Group
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 304
Pub. Date: 2017
ISBN-10: 1559364815
ISBN-13: 9781559364812
Cast Size: 5 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play is a full-length dark comedy by Anne Washburn. What will endure after the collapse of civilization – when the electrical grid fails, society crumbles, and we're faced with the task of rebuilding? A challenging yet thoughtful and accessible play, Mr. Burns takes place shortly after an apocalyptic event, where an episode of The Simpsons holds the key to cultural preservation. This volume also contains 10 Out of 12, The Small and I Have Loved Strangers.

Mr. Burns propels us forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling into its future. Armageddon has struck and the electrical grid is down: no TV, no radio, no internet – how will life go on? One group of tenacious survivors is huddled around a fire, pondering the world without electricity, and the things they will never see again. To console themselves, they piece together the plot of "The Simpsons" episode "Cape Feare" entirely from memory. 7 years later, this and other snippets of pop culture (sitcom plots, commercials, jingles, and pop songs) have become the live entertainment performed by travelling theatre troupes, while remembered lines are traded back and forth like currency. 75 years later, these are the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created. A paean to live theatre, and the resilience of Bart Simpson through the ages, Mr. Burns is an animated exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

Mr. Burns premiered in 2012 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Since then the play ran at Playwrights Horizons in 2013 and at the Almeida Theatre in London in 2014, had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US, UK, and has been mounted by community theatres and is regularly performed in high school and college theatre productions as a showcase of student talent.

Cast: 5 women, 3 men

What people say:

"Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play is an astonishing master class in playwriting. Future scribes would benefit in having it as an example, not to emulate exactly, but as proof that a (future) classic can exist outside the 'well-made play' formula." — The Toronto Star

"Mr. Burns is so smart it makes your head spin… Downright brilliant. This intoxicating and sobering vision of an American future, set during a day-after tomorrow apocalypse…has depths of feeling to match its breadth of imagination… In tracing a story's hold on the imaginations of different generations, the play is likely to make you think back—way back—to narratives that survive today from millenniums ago… With grand assurance and artistry, Ms. Washburn makes us appreciate anew the profound value of storytelling in and of itself… Makes a case for theater as the most glorious and durable storyteller of all. I look forward to remembering it for a long, long time." — New York Times

"...an intellectual rush, a sense of unexplored theatrical possibility... and the massive pull of shared experience." — The Chicago Tribune

"Mr. Burns is both scary and sweet, funny but dead serious, unique and wonderfully theatrical." — TIME Magazine

"Get in line ASAP. This bizarre, funny, bleak, wonderful show is even better than its hype." — New York Post

"Gradually this absurd, unreal performance comes to encapsulate not just the old, now-mythical way of life but also our own. The intellectual fascination of the material meshes with emotional significance on an instinctual level." — Financial Times

"If you’re a fan of The Simpsons with an appetite for risk-taking theatre, its strangeness will be irresistible." — Evening Standard

About the Playwright:

Anne Washburn is an American playwright. Her work has been produced Off-Broadway and in regional theatres in the US and Canada, and in Europe and Australia. She holds a B.A. in theater and literature from Reed College and an M.F.A. from New York University. She has held several MacDowell and Yaddo residencies between 2008 and 2013, was a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, and received a PEN/Laura Pels Award in 2015.