The UNM Department of Theatre and Dance presents "Port Twilight" by OBIE award winning playwright Len Jenkin, Friday, April 20-Sunday, April 29, in Rodey Theatre, Center for the Arts.
This futuristic sci-fi thriller, heralded as "a work of true theatrical genius," takes us to the mysterious town of Port Twilight where workers at the OPME, Off-Planet Message Exchange, scan radio waves for messages from other planets. Jenkin will be in Albuquerque for the premiere and will lead a post performance discussion. UNM has been invited to take this production to the Asia Theatre Education Centre International Theatre Festival in Beijing, China, this May.
On the outskirts of the dark and desperate city of Port Twilight, a group of men and women appear. They are scientists who bear a striking similarity to the physicists who gathered in Los Alamos, N.M., 1942-45 to devise and test the first atomic bomb. The subtitle of the play is "The History of Science, A Chronicle of Folly, Wisdom and Madness." The scientists seem to be waiting for something.
Cabaret performers and OPME employees Dack and Donna serve as our guides as we travel through different parts of the city. OPME is a secretive agency operating from an abandoned hotel. Its mission is to constantly send interstellar messages into outer space and listen for a reply from intelligent alien beings.
In "Port Twilight," new love is found and old love is rekindled, while a disgruntled biochemist, a B-movie producer, a mystical rabbi, and a team of dancing scientists, through video imagery, music and powerful poetic language, tell an apocalyptic tale of and science and the search for knowledge.
Jenkin is an award-winning playwright and novelist. His honors include three OBIE Awards, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, and four grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is professor of playwriting at New York University. His works include "Dark Ride," "Pilgrims of the Night" and "Like I Say." They have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Sun and Moon Press and have been produced at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York City, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Flea Theatre in New York and major regional theatres across the U.S.
"Port Twilight's" director, UNM Associate Professor Bill Walters, describes Jenkin as "one of the great storytellers of the American theatre. His plays tell wonderful, complex tales which often consist of a journey. And as much ground as they travel physically, they can also take us on an interior journey: a trek into the mind, the heart and the soul, into memory and into the imaginary." Jenkin will attend the premiere and lead a post performance discussion.
"A ‘port,'" Walters said, "is a transitional place, a doorway, an opening, a jumping-off point, it is a space between worlds. Likewise, ‘twilight' is a time of change, of shift. It is a moment between day and night/night and day. ‘Port Twilight' is a journey in both space and time: a journey into the back alleys and abandoned buildings of the city and into the hidden corners of fear, desperation, hope, and redemption."
"Port Twilight" features an ensemble of some of UNM's finest student actors. The set design is by Dahl Delu, lighting and sound design is by Bill Liotta, and costume design is by Anna Avery.
The UNM Department of Theatre and Dance has been invited to participate and bring this production of "Port Twilight" to the Central Academy of Drama and the Asia Theatre Education Centre International Theatre Festival (ATEC) in May 2012 in Beijing. The festival is hosted by China's Central Academy of Drama, considered the best theatre school in Asia. The ATEC festival was created in 2005 to establish an effective network to connect theatre schools and organizations in Asia and to promote the development of theatre education, creation and research by providing a communication platform for all students, teachers and researchers who are devoted to the study and practice of theatre in Asia.
Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Bill Liotta met with the academy's president and foreign exchange staff and received an invitation to re-mount the production of "Port Twilight." The connection between the Central Academy of Drama and this invitation is due in large part to a multi-year relationship with Walters and Liotta. Both have been guest teachers and presenters at the Festival in the past and have worked to make a long-term connection between Beijing and Albuquerque.
Performances of Port Twilight will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $12 UNM faculty and seniors and $10 UNM staff and all students. Tickets are available at the UNM ticket offices at the UNM Bookstore The Pit and by calling (505) 925-5858.
More information is available at the Department of Theatre and Dance or by calling (505) 277-3660.
Story by and Media Contact: Kathleen Clawson, (505) 238-6029