Underground Railroad Game, created by Jennifer Kidwell & Scott R. Sheppard, and directed by Taibi Mager, plays the '62 Center March 1; submitted photo.

Will Call #67: Underground Railroad Game at ’62 Center

February 28, 2018

ADVISORY: Explicit content. Underground Railroad Game contains sexually explicit material, strong language, and mature themes, so is recommended for adventurous audiences ages 18 and up. Questions about what you’re in for? You can reach out to Producing Director, Randal Fippinger for more info.

Created by Jennifer Kidwell & Scott R. Sheppard, Directed by Taibi Mager

Named one of the top ten theatre experiences of 2016 by the New York Times, Underground Railroad Game is a vivid, piercing piece of experimental performance from Philadelphia-based company Lightning Rod Special. Over its rapid-fire 75 minutes, the piece toes the line between sketch comedy show and excruciating American history lesson, set in a middle school classroom.

Underground Railroad Game
Thursday, March 1, 2018; 8:00 p.m.
’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, MainStage
1000 Main Street
Williamstown, Mass.
Tickets: $10/$3 (students)

At Hanover Middle School, two teachers get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power. The quick-witted duo goes round after round on the mat of our nation’s history in an R-rated, far-reaching, and absolutely unflinching comedy.

Lightning Rod Special’s raucous performance earned them the 2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work, one of the highest honors in the field. By tearing down barriers of political correctness and challenging the contemporary liberal interracial dialogue, Underground Railroad excavates hidden—and often ugly—truths about race, identity, and historical memory.

Production Design: Tilly Grimes
Scenic Design Steven: Dufala
Lighting Design Oona: Curley
Sound Design: Mikaal Sulaiman
Production Stage Manager: Lisa Mcginn
Stage Manager: Natalie Hratko

Post Show Q&A with Assistant Professor of English Kimberly Love.

“If we interrogate the mythos of the Underground Railroad we uncover an apparent need to make systemic exploitation, degradation and objectification palatable. Why is it that we love to narrativize ourselves in ways that propagate the very violence we proclaim to upend?” – Jennifer Kidwell & Scott Sheppard

Underground Railroad Game Trailer from Jennifer Kidwell on Vimeo.

About Jennifer Kidwell

Jennifer Kidwell

Jennifer Kidwell is a performing artist. Most recently she has had the fortune to work with David Neumann/advanced beginner group (I Understand Everything Better), Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Bernice Johnson Reagon (Zinnias), Pig Iron Theatre Company (Live Faster, 99 Break-Ups) and visual artist Joe Scanlan as Donelle Woolford (Dick’s Last Stand, Whitney Biennial 2014). With Scott Sheppard, she has created the original duet Underground Railroad Game (FringeArts 2015, ANT Fest 2014), and is currently at work on an original quartet, Those With Two Clocks, with Jess Conda and Melissa Krodman. She is a proud co-founder of JACK (Brooklyn).

About Scott Sheppard

Scott Sheppard is an actor, deviser, director and teacher from Philadelphia and he has co-created all of Lightning Rod Special’s performance works. He is also a member of the inaugural class at Pig Iron’s School for Advanced Performance Training (2011-2013) and most recently appeared in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s newest production 99 Breakups. In 2013-14 he was selected to be BRAT Productions’ Artist in Residence, and his most recent original production, Underground Railroad Game, appeared as a presented feature in the 2013 NOLA Fringe Festival and Ars Nova’s All New Talent Festival in New York City. In 2014 he also was a director in residence at Colgate University, where he led students in the creation of an original piece of theatre about deer overpopulation, ecological stewardship, and animal-human relationships.

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