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ASU Theatre's 2022–23 season brings audiences innovative experiences, expanded perspectives

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during athletic training? Travel behind the scenes of a baseball stadium? Or maybe wondered what exists after this life? This year’s theater season at Arizona State University allows you to experience all that and more with three plays representing modern-day life and culture as depicted by contemporary playwrights.

“This season places young minds and young lives in a soccer field, a baseball stadium and a premature afterlife,” said Guillermo Reyes, ASU professor and artistic director of theater in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “Each play allows actors to play a variety of struggles and immerses them in the craft of acting in challenging contemporary roles.”

The season kicks off (pun intended) with a play from the perspective of a girls indoor soccer team. In “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, the story is told through the gossip of nine soccer players as they run through their warmups and drills. Directed by MFA student Marissa Barnathan, the play addresses adolescence, politics and loss. 

“I’m excited to showcase our talented female actors at ASU,” said Barnathan. “I am also excited to re-engage with soccer, as I used to play soccer as a kid and teen, but I haven’t played formally since high school.”

Barnathan said staging soccer warmups and drills on stage poses unique challenges amid the more typical challenges of directing a play. The play addresses weighty topics as the young women discuss everything from Cambodian war criminals to their periods, and anxiety disorders to reproductive rights. 

The second play of the season will be guest-directed by Jack Reuler, founder and artistic director emeritus of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minnesota. Reuler has worked with ASU students in prior productions. “Safe at Home,” written by Gabriel Greene and Alex Levy, is an immersive theater experience that will be performed on-site at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Audiences will travel through different parts of the stadium for an up-close look at nine different scenes set in the tense moments before a Latino baseball player takes the pitcher’s mound.

“This play is about immigration policy and reform, all told through the lens of the seventh game of the World Series between the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers, just days before the presidential election,” said Reuler. “Baseball fans will love getting to see the innards of a baseball stadium, and theater fans will love getting to see a piece done on-site.”

A Wavemaker Arts Grant by the City of Tempe made it possible to produce the show at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The final show of the ASU Theatre season is “Kill, Move, Paradise” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames. Influenced by the ever-growing list of unarmed slain Black men and women, the show tells the story of four young men who find themselves stuck in a nebulous waiting room in the afterlife. The show will be directed by Assistant Professor Rachel Finley

“It deals with a weighty topic, but there’s also joy in the play,” said Finley. “It showcases the joy and the beauty of our culture: what’s fun and funny alongside the difficulties and the tragedy. It’s a play that emphasizes the often overlooked humanity of Black men.”

Finley said she’s excited to present this work because the topic is so important to her. The style of the play is magical realism — rooted in real-world experiences but presented in a manner that is outside real experience.

“It creates the opportunity for creativity and exploration that’s really interesting,” said Finley. “It’s an opportunity to bring this gorgeous writing to life.”

The season also includes Theatre Labs each semester. Theatre Labs are minimally staged readings of new plays that are free and open to the public. They provide an opportunity for student or faculty playwrights to develop a newly devised work with feedback from the audience. 

No tickets are needed for Theatre Lab performances. For ticketed performances, tickets must be purchased in advance online through the Herberger Institute Box Office

2022–23 ASU Theatre Season

“The Wolves”
7:30 p.m., Nov. 4–5, 10, 12
2 p.m., Nov. 6 and 13
Lyceum Theatre

“Safe at Home”
7 and 8 p.m., Feb. 3–4, 9–11
2 and 3 p.m., Feb. 5 and 12
Tempe Diablo Stadium

“Kill, Move, Paradise”
7:30 p.m., March 31, April 1, 6–7
2 p.m., April 2 and 8
Lyceum Theatre

Theatre Labs
All performances at 7 p.m. in Nelson Fine Arts Center Room 133
Oct. 23
Nov. 6, 20
March 19, 26
April 16

lhalm@asu.edu