Christopher Oscar Peña, playwright. (Click on image for larger file size.)
The UIC Theatre will present the premiere of “i wonder if it’s possible to have a love affair that lasts forever (or) things i found on craigslist” by Christopher Oscar Peña, former playwright-in-residence at the Goodman Theatre; directed by Marti Lyons, literary manager and dramaturg of Lookingglass Theater; with music and lyrics by Melissa Lusk.
April 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.
April 13, 16 and 19 at 2 p.m.
1044 W. Harrison St.
The play’s title draws from a 1963 self-portrait by Andy Warhol, titled “i wonder if it’s possible to have a love affair that lasts forever.” It chronicles the love affairs of a clique of 20-somethings in 2011. Their impending 10-year high school reunion prompts them to question their relationships with each other, their sexuality or lack thereof, and their increasing reliance on social media.
They post Facebook status changes that bring on meddling by near-strangers and conflicts among themselves. One friend places a “virginity for sale” ad on Craigslist. And Gino — the only one of the group who has avoided Facebook — signs on for the first time and instantly envies those who lived before social media because “the past stayed in the past…People could become different people and disappear forever.”
Three sprites serve as an omniscient Greek chorus throughout the play. They send the group back to pre-Facebook times to remind them of their true selves.
“Social media is the tool that unified this generation, but it’s asking questions about where the personal ends. They’re more open, but they’re prone to being less tactful, and completely unapologetic, because everything is a touch of the finger away,” says Yasen Peyankov, head of UIC’s theatre program and an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
A workshop presentation of “craigslist” was described in the New York Times as “‘The Big Chill’ for millennials.” It was further developed through a second workshop in Los Angeles to arrive at the version UIC will produce, says Peña, who worked with UIC student actors last year. His plays have been produced at New York’s Public Theater, the New York Theatre Workshop, and many other theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
Director Marti Lyons served as associate director and understudy of “Still Alice” and assistant director of “Mister Ricky Calls a Meeting” at Lookingglass Theater. She was assistant director of “Julius Caesar” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, “The Letters” at Writers Theatre, and “Oedipus El Rey” at Victory Gardens Theater.
Admission to all performances is $11 for UIC students, $14 for UIC faculty and staff, and $16 for the general public. To order, call 312-996-2939.