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What of the Night?
What of the Night?

by Maria Irene Fornes

directed by Katie Pearl

Preview: November 11 @ 2pm
Show dates: November 14-18 @ 7:30pm

Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre

About the Play

What of the Night?, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, offers a panoramic view into the spiritual and economic poverty of 20th and 21st century United States. Taking place over a 60-year span and following four individual family members through four linked plays, What of the Night? lifts the lid off societal oppression to expose the unstoppable humans within. Meet Nadine (NADINE), who sets her children on their course by teaching them that love means survival at all costs and by any means; meet young Birdie who walks out of that life in search of a better existence. Meet Rainbow (SPRINGTIME) who carries her mother’s lesson forward, caring for her lover Greta by renting out her body to a man who, unbeknownst to her, is her half-brother, Ray. Meet abusive and power-addicted Ray (LUST), who makes it to the echelons of corporate success only to be terrorized by the emptiness he finds there. Get to know tender-hearted Charlie (HUNGER), who in his old age finds himself in charge of a vast bureaucratized homeless shelter, where Ray and eventually fourth sibling Birdie come under his care.

What of the Night? is a sweeping portrait of society, a brutal castigation of greed, and a brilliant assertion of human spirit. It is a tender and brutal telling of the impossibility of love and the spiritual disintegration that happens when the stranglehold of poverty-- or the forces of great wealth--infiltrate the inner workings of our lives and relationships.
About the Playwright
Maria Irene Fornes is a Cuban-American avant garde playwright, director, and master teacher whose plays and playwriting classes influenced an entire generation of theater artists. As a leading figure of the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s, Fornes broke open conventions of theater making, shocking and delighting New York audiences with bold, surprising work that continually redefined itself. In 1965 she won her first two 'Distinguished Play' OBIE awards, for both her biting and hilarious musical Promenade and her loopy, satirical The Successful Life of 3 (dedicated to her lover at the time Susan Sontag). She went on to win a total of 9 OBIES, and in 1990 a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize with her play What of the Night? Other notable works include Fefu and Her Friends, which was the first Off Broadway play to have an all-female cast, and Mud, Sarita, and Letters from Cuba. Fornes plays often examine the insinuation of socio-economic roles into intimate relationships, teasing out the continual interplay of poverty, power, love, and sex. Fornes currently lives in Amsterdam Nursing Home in New York City, where she is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's. She continues to be a vital figure in both the Latinx theater community as well as in the American theater in general. In order to propel her legacy forward, leaders from the Latinx Theater Commons are in the process of establishing a Fornes Institute, and a new documentary called 'The Rest I Make Up'-- which follows Fornes' brilliant creative mind in her post-writing years-- is set to be released early next year.
About the Director

Katie Pearl is a director, playwright, and social practice artist whose work is fueled by the belief that personal encounter and creative exchange are necessary to maintain a humane world. Her projects range from plays to interactive installation to community-wide collaborations, and often invite audiences and participants into radically imaginative situations that playfully challenge traditional structures and norms. As co-Artistic Director of PearlDamour, the interdisciplinary company she shares with playwright Lisa D’Amour, Katie has co-created, directed, and sometimes performed in a body of work spanning 18 years and 13 cities. PearlDamour’s recognition includes an OBIE Award (Nita & Zita), a Creative Capital Award (How to Build a Forest), four Multi-Arts Production Fund grants (LandMark, Terrible Things, How to Build a Forest), and two NEA Our Town grants (Milton). Projects in development include a Steinberg Commission from the Trinity Rep, a new PearlDamour project commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre and the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and The Rest I Make Up, a new documentary she is co-producing about the visionary theater artist Maria Irene Fornes, to be released in the summer of 2017. Katie received her MFA in Writing for Performance from Brown University in 2015. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University and an Anschutz Fellow at Princeton, where her teaching and research focus on the concept of the Artist-Citizen.

Director's Statement

First drafted in the late 1980’s, What of the Night? feels like it was written for today. Using the humane and electrifying playwriting that is her trademark, Maria Irene Fornes holds up a brilliant and unwavering mirror up for her audience, making it impossible to ignore the truth: that the socio-economic forces that shape our lives invade and define our most intimate partnerships. Money, sex, and power infiltrate every relationship. What of the Night? accumulates over the course of four short plays that range across 80 plus years. Three of the plays show the tremendous force extreme poverty exerts on the characters, directly shaping their actions and inner lives; the fourth shows a similar twisted impact of wealth. There is institutional failure, interpersonal failure, human frailty, betrayal, love, dreams and madness. The play is raw, provocative, tender, haunting, brutal.

What I love, though, is that as violent and brutal as this play gets, and as apocalyptic, it also brings us at every moment into deeper understanding of the beautiful, flawed, contrary human beings we are. The play’s societal critique grows not via an intellectual or theoretical argument from Fornes as a playwright, but through her characters— deeply complicated and unpredictable individuals—who turn towards each other again and again in their attempts to understand, articulate, and live out their lives. Whether they love, care for, debase or brutalize each other, they do so out of a belief in love, a survival impulse rooted deep within.

Once in an interview, Irene said this about What of the Night?: "In these plays I ask that we give thought to what would happen to our civilization if we don't reverse the course we have taken." Now, here, in 2017, giving thought to the progress (or lack of progress) of our own civilization via this play feels like an incredibly, vitally necessary act.

The Cast

Task Force – Molly Adea
Helena / Lorraine – Mary Rose Branick
Pete / Joseph / Jim – DeLeon Dallas
Birdie / Dream Restaurateur ("Wing") – Janet Fiki
Ray – Kyle Hester
Leah / Greta / She – Nicole Javier
Task Force – Levan Korganashvili
Nadine / Reba / Dream Restaurateur ("Wang") – Kim Monks
Charlie / Boy – Allyn Moriyon
Task Force – Jenna Nimri
Rainbow / Girl – Mo Rodvanich
Task Force – Alexandra Velazquez
Task Force – Anna Younce

The Creative Team

Director – Katie Pearl
Scenic Designer – Matthew Herman
Costume Designer – Junior Bergman
Lighting Designer – Brandon H Rosen
Sound Designer – Zhongran Carren Wang
Assistant Scenic Designer – Hsi-An Chen
Assistant Costume Designer – Chris Flagstad
Assistant Lighting Designer – Mextly Almeda
Assistant Sound Designer – Mae Ann Ross
Production Stage Manager – Ashley Martin
Asst. Stage Manager – Willie Mae Michiels
Asst. Stage Manager – Jacob Halpern-Weitzman

Performances Parking & Location

Located at: Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre

Parking Passes Required: Monday through Friday. Weeknight passes are $2 per vehicle from the vending machines located in the UC San Diego Theatre District/La Jolla Playhouse parking lots and entry display case. Please remember your parking space number. You will need it to purchase your parking pass.

Note: Machines take all major credit cards except Discover and when paying with cash you must use exact change, NO CHANGE GIVEN.

Parking Passes Not Required: Saturdays and Sundays


Cars without permits are subject to ticketing by UCSD Campus Police. The Theatre & Dance Department does not have the authority to waive and cannot pay parking tickets.






Nov. 11

Nov. 14

Nov. 15

Nov. 16

Nov. 17

Nov. 18
2:00 pm     PREVIEW

7:30 pm     OPENING

7:30 pm  

7:30 pm  

7:30 pm  

7:30 pm     CLOSING

Advance tickets for this production are available Monday-Friday, noon to 6 pm by calling the Box Office at 858.534.4574 or in person at the Theatre District’s Central Box Office at the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre.

At-the-Door tickets, if available, can be purchased one hour before show time at the performing theatre’s box office at Mandell Weiss Theatre.

General Admission: $20
UCSD Faculty/Staff/Alumni Association, and Seniors (over 62): $15
UCSD Students/UCSD Alumni Association (with ID): $10

Please note: No late seating; no refunds.

Theatre & Dance Faculty, Staff & Majors Only >>


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