Spooky Action Theater announces 2023/24 season

A lineup of dynamic plays with global perspectives under new artistic director Elizabeth Dinkova.

Spooky Action Theater is excited to announce productions and special events as part of its 2023-24 season, BEYOND BORDERS. These dazzling, dynamic plays by playwrights with distinctive and provocative voices examine global perspectives on humanity. The theater will present two full productions, Agreste (Drylands) by Brazilian playwright Newton Moreno, newly translated and directed by Danilo Gambini, Associate Artistic Director at Studio Theatre, and Frontiéres sans Frontiéres by Phillip Howze, directed by Elizabeth Dinkova. In addition, Spooky Action’s New Works in Action program will feature a week-long developmental workshop of the wildly inventive new play Cracking Zeus by Christopher Hampton. The season will conclude with a series of unique special events and new play readings by local artists. Dates of the workshop and readings will be announced later.

Performances take place at Spooky Action’s home at The Universalist National Memorial Church, 1810 16th Street, NW.

“Phillip Howze’s play Frontiéres Sans Frontiéres, with its clever play on words, inspired me to think about borders more broadly, to ask: what are the territories of the mind and heart that we guard the most fervently?” stated Elizabeth DinkovaThis season explores the lines we draw, not just between countries or cultures, but between belief systems, aesthetics, identities. Our season celebrates the power of theater to dissolve artificial boundaries through empathy and imagination, and to build bridges instead.”


AGRESTE (DRYLANDS) by Newton Moreno
Directed and translated by Danilo Gambini (Associate Artistic Director, Studio Theatre)
October 26-November 19, 2023

In the drylands of northeast Brazil, a kingdom of sand and thirst, Maria and Etevaldo fall in love across a fence. After living together as husband and wife for 22 years, the sanctity of their union gets invaded by the gossip and gibes of a conservative community. Four storytellers breathe life into this tale of love and loss, desire and death, ignorance and illumination. Based on real events, Newton Moreno’s stunning narrative shows that love can bloom even in the harshest climate.

“By turns lyrical, funny, surprising, tragic, Agreste (Drylands) achieves folkloric power.” – New Haven Review

“This is the kind of tale that would live on in the minds of locals, a defining act of bloodletting that makes us confront the fate that outsiders too often find in communities that fearfully maintain conformity.” – New Haven Review

Directed by Elizabeth Dinkova
April 25-May 19, 2024

At a landfill in a country that feels familiar and foreign, three stateless youths have cobbled together a scrappy living: learning “Engaleash,” raising a ruckus, dreaming big while getting by with little. Soon a whirlwind of tourists, social media influencers, foreign investors, and do-gooders invade their home with promises of assistance and civilization – but at what cost? Howze’s “brightly colored, comic fantasia on cultural imperialism” (New York Times) dazzles with its blistering satire and asks, who wins and who loses in a war to hold on to the people and places we love?

“Linguistically acrobatic and piercingly funny, Frontiéres is a whip-smart modern burlesque that deserves a wider audience.” —New York Magazine

CRITICS’ PICK! “Howze’s exciting piece is a savage burlesque, a clear-eyed bouffon treatment of war.” —Time Out New York


CRACKING ZEUS by Christopher Hampton
Dates TBD

Hera, a goddess with a grudge to settle, has found her husband Zeus’ newest illegitimate child. On the outside, Baniaha is a pillar of his community: he lives with his mother and helps run her church while mentoring orphaned youth. On the inside, he is lost: the mystery of his paternity leaves him yearning for answers. When Hera arrives to exact her revenge with the help of Rufus, a homeless crack addict she thinks she can exploit, relationships are strained, and faith is put to the test. Cracking Zeus is a present-day myth about religion, dependency, and redemption.

Dates TBD

Spooky Action Theater invites local playwrights and generative artists to submit proposals for unique one-night-only events that cross borders – across countries, cultures, aesthetics, forms, and belief systems. Please email your ideas to Artistic Director Elizabeth Dinkova at [email protected].

Information at https://spookyaction.org

Spooky Action Theater
is an award-winning, small professional theater located near DC’s DuPont, U Street Corridor and Logan Circle neighborhoods. Founded in 2004, the company takes its name from a quantum mechanics phenomenon “spooky action at a distance” in which two particles become entangled such that a change in one is instantly mirrored by a change in the other, no matter the distance between them. Spooky Action Theater produces work that creates this kind of deep connection between actors and audience.


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