Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play Debuts at Valencia

Theresa Neal

On Friday, attendees packed into the small Black Box Theater at Valencia’s East Campus to watch a live performance of Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. The black-comedy written by Anne Washburn and directed by Jeremy Seghers explores a world destroyed by nuclear energy and shows how culture can evolve over time using a modern example that most people can relate to: the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons.

The opening act made use of the smaller stage and the warm, cozy glow of a mock-campfire. The survivors of the nuclear apocalypse gathered and reminisced about America’s favorite TV family, The Simpsons. As the survivors went through a play-by-play of the episode, the audience got to see hints of what the world had become.

I enjoyed this scene because each character had their own personality and the dialogue was believable. The actors knew how to pace their lines and when to react. When they are in danger, I could feel the dread and need to react. This carried through to the second act, which portrayed the same characters a few years later trying to regrow society.

The third act was possibly the most amazingly bizarre thing I ever saw on a stage, but I also wouldn’t call it any less than epic and thought-provoking. It is one of those things you have to see to believe. But, it is important to pay attention to the subtle context changes the characters introduce in Acts I and II – it really pays off in the end.

If you have never seen an episode of “The Simpsons,” I strongly recommend watching Season 5’s Cape Feare before going to the show. As a die-hard Simpsons fan, this is one of those episodes that I personally never get tired of and probably could quote word-for-word. The 1993 episode features a lot of classic Simpsons humor that is sprinkled throughout Mr.Burns, A Post-Electric Play.

The play is an excellent example of how pop culture changes and evolves over time. I would highly recommend it.Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play will be performed live on February 23rd at 7:30 P.M. and Sunday, February 24th at 2:00 P.M. at the Valencia College East Campus Black Box Theater.