‘Mr. Burns’ play comes to MCC Theatre

Kian Hagerman
Mesa Legend

“Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” is set in a post-apocalyptic future and will be the final production of the mainstage season for the MCC theatre and film arts department. Written by Anne Washburn, the story follows a group of survivors, trying to retell the story of an episode of “The Simpsons,” relying on their collective memories of the story alone due to the regression of civilization. The episode in question is “Cape Feare” which follows Sideshow Bob on one of his many attempts to kill Bart, itself a parody of the films “Cape Fear,” both the original 1962 version and the 1991 remake.

The original film is itself an adaptation, of the novel “The Executioners” by John D. MacDonald. The original story concerns a violent criminal, sent to prison based on the testimony of a lawyer, who is released and begins stalking the lawyer he blames for putting him there.
There have been a number of references to the 1991 Scorsese remake over the years in popular culture, including an overt reference in the popular animated show “Rick and Morty.” The play jumps forward in time, allowing the audience to see how this simple beginning influences the future culture of the society that reemerges from the ashes of the old.

A dark comedy, the play’s themes are promising for those interested in the post-apocalyptic genre, or those that might enjoy seeing how an episode of a popular television show might be reinterpreted and carried forward by a more primitive vocal tradition. Eventually landing 75 years past the initial retelling, the story has transformed, becoming much more meaningful to the population and is combined with relevant pop culture trends of the new generation, along with other elements of the culture that existed prior.  The bizarre transformation of the story shown over time is something audiences might find unique about “Mr. Burns.”

Given that “The Simpsons” story that the play draws from is itself a reinterpretation of a film, those who have seen all the films and show in question might be more aware of the intricacies of the proceedings. Auditions for the play are scheduled to be held on March 5 and 6, with interested performers requested to prepare both a contemporary monologue, with a preference for comedic content, along with a portion of a pop song that is 16-32 bars in length to be performed a capella.

The production of “Mr. Burns” is scheduled for April 20, 21, 26, and 27 at 7:30 with dates on April 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.mesacc.edu/arts/event/2018-04/mr-burns-post-electric-play or call 480-461-7172.Online sign up to auditon for a role in “Mr. Burns” can be found by following the appropriate link at https://www.mesacc.edu/departments/communication-theatre-film-arts/theatre-film-arts/auditions.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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