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News Release

October 22, 2008


Cynthia Haven, News Service: (650) 724-6184,

Stefanie Okuda, Drama Department: (650) 723-1342,

Drama Department spotlights T. S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'

The Department of Drama launches its 2008-09 season with five original performance works inspired by T. S. Eliot's 1922 poem The Waste Land. It's the first time the department has focused on a single literary work as inspiration for the entirety of its main stage season.

The Waste Land in Black and White, directed by dancer and choreographer Aleta Hayes, will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 in the Drama Department's upper scene shop.

The Waste Land in Black and White focuses on Eliot's reference to Virgil's story of Dido and Aeneas. The performance integrates elaborate baroque costume and music from the 1689 Henry Purcell opera, Dido and Aeneas, to tell the story of modern-day actors rehearsing the opera. As the rehearsals progress, the actors' desires and actions begin to parallel those of their archetypal characters.

Mirroring the way Eliot weaves The Waste Land from a tapestry of famous tales and cultural genres, Black and White constructs its story through melding the contemporary, the classical and the baroque using dance, drama and music.

Black and White will be performed in the upper scene shop of the Drama Department—a space typically used for building and painting stage sets. "The space was chosen to highlight the austere and industrial environment as a key feature of my contemporary wasteland," according to Hayes. "The setting also serves to accentuate the juxtaposition between my modern love story and the ancient tale that is retold in parallel."

Hayes performs the leading role in Black and White with drama students Donnie Hill and Virginia Preston. A part of Black and White was workshopped during a master class with internationally acclaimed director Robert Wilson during his recent campus visit.

Other 2008-09 productions will include Dining Room, Home, Tomb, Decaying Hole and Empty Room, directed by Ileana Drinovan, Nov. 13-15; The Waste Land: or Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain, directed by Dan Sack and choreographed by Robert Moses, Feb. 19-21; Hurry Up Please It's Time, directed by Tony Kramer, March 5-7; and wAsted, directed by Juan Batiz-Benet and others, May 14-16.

Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for faculty and staff, and $15 general admission; purchase at the door or online at


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