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University of Minnesota, Morris production of Viva La Revolucion—three one acts directed by Chris Batteen, Alan Pagel and Jon Dent.

Synopsis: The Root of Chaos by Douglas Soderberg - he place is the home of the Cernikowski family in Centralia, Pennsylvania, where a subterranean fire in the abandoned coal mines has been burning out of control for years and moving steadily closer to the houses of the few remaining residents. The Cernikowskis, father Joe, mother Wilma, teenage daughter Doublemint (named after her grandmother) and nine-year-old son, Skeeter, seem to be oddly unconcerned about their own peril, although Wilma does make daily measurements of the ever-widening crack in their cellar wall. But the grotesque unreality of their threatened existence is reflected in the matter-of-fact way in which they discuss events which, to "normal" people would seem something more than casual—such as Doublemint's off-hand announcement that she decided to take off her clothes in the school principal's office; or Skeeter's deadpan mention of having been sexually molested by a group of neighborhood bullies; or, worst of all, their ho-hum reaction when Wilma is incinerated in the cellar by escaping coal gas, ignited when Joe strikes a match to light Doublemint's cigarette. Eventually, after Doublemint is killed by lightening, Skeeter begins to show the first hints of honest fear and concern. But this is short-lived when he is felled by a fatal stroke, leaving Joe gamely trying to convince himself that he is not afraid, despite the collapse and destruction all around him, and notwithstanding the arrival of a foul-mouthed Officer of Surface Mining, who helps himself to the Cernikowskis' leftover casserole before sending Joe off to join the others by means of a well-placed bullet.

The Man Who Turned Into a Stick by Kobo Abe - This play opens with a stick, played by a man, hurtling down from the sky and landing next to Hippie Boy and Hippie Girl. As Hippie Boy and Girl look casually for the stick's point of origin, they spot a young boy on the roof of a building, and suspect that the boy must have thrown the stick. In the meantime, a Woman and Man from Hell enter the scene and, in an aside, they remark mysteriously "once again, a man turned into a stick and vanished".

Woman and Man from Hell appear to realize that they are searching for this particular stick, and so they approach the two youth. Vaguely introducing themselves but not revealing their identities, they request that Hippie Boy hand them the stick...

Life Under Water by Richard Greenberg - The setting is the present-day Hamptons, that sun drenched stretch of expensive ocean frontage where the rich and privileged while away their summers. Two attractive college girls, Amy-Joy and Amy-Beth, are looking for a good time, and think they have found it in the person of Kip, a handsome preppie who is in flight from the lavish home he shares with his divorced, domineering and bitingly sophisticated mother and her narcissistic married lover. And romance does develop, if not quite in the manner anticipated, as the triangular affair of the young people is deftly counterpointed against the vapid relationship of the older couple. But while high comedy and sharp observation prevail, the play yields a lacerating portrait of a contemporary upper-middle-class that is, sadly and humorously, bored, self-indulgent and emotionally reckless.

Publication Date



Theater programs, Theater


Theatre and Performance Studies

Viva La Revolucion, November 12-14, 2000