Pulse Theatre Chicago, a company founded and led by Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni, presents a new production of Edward Albee’s landmark 1962 drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? August 4-20 at City Lit Theatre, located in the Edgewater Presbyterian Church at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago’s Edgewater Theatre District.
The production is directed by Columbia College alumnus Chris Jackson ’14, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance. Jackson’s production features a diverse non-Equity cast. “We try to find new, emerging actors regardless of race and bring modern relevance to classic works,” says Jackson. “Our core values are to spark change, ruffle feathers, and select projects that truly speak to us and our audience. Pulse was founded and runs on the belief in inclusionary theatre and including a multitude of voices in our work. We operate with the object of diversifying our artistic counterparts and the minds of our audience; changing the idea of what theatre is and should be.”
Columbia alums Pablo Ponce ’13 and Claire Chrzan ’11, both graduates of Columbia’s Theatre Design program, are the show’s scenic and lighting designers respectively. Sasha Smith, a former student in the Theatre Department’s Acting BA program, is the show’s fight choreographer.
Set in the early 1960s, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? concerns a middle-aged married couple in a college town — George, an associate professor of history, and Martha, the daughter of the college’s president — who invite a younger couple to their home very late one evening. The guests — a biology teacher at the college and his wife — walk into a quagmire of drinking, fights, sex, games, and delusions.
“Virginia Woolf is an absurdist allegory of Albee’s displeasure with the cultural shift caused by World War II. He detested the fact that this shift created a world rooted in fiction and fueled by illusion. . . . This reflects our current reality, which is what drew me to this play,” says Jackson.
Pulse Theatre Chicago was cofounded in 2014 by Jackson and his fellow Columbia College alumnus Aaron Mitchell Reese ’12, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing Program.
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