Mary Moody Northen Theatre abuzz about two new plays

The Mary Moody Northen Theatre is buzzing in anticipation of its 2015-2016 season premiere.

In a few short weeks, the stage will be set, costumes polished and props ready for the first show of the semester.

David Long, who is beginning his eighth season as the theater’s artistic director, says it will be “a tumultuous season” due to the variety of (often heavy) themes explored in the plays, which he hopes will have people talking about the shows long after they leave the theater.

“That is the beauty of theater,” Long said. “You can get a roomful of 200 people and present (a work) and promote discussion.”

The fall season, comprised of Anne Washburn’s “Mr.Burns: A Post Electric Play” and the Broadway adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” will likely spark conversation among theater-goers who will walk in on an unlikely arrangement of pieces.

Set in a post apocalyptic world, “Mr.Burns” concerns itself with rebuilding community and preserving culture by trying to recall an episode of “The Simpsons” while sitting around a campfire.

“It’s a wild ride,” Long said of the play. “It is a very violent musical, but there is certainly hope.”

The second play of the season, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” will also focus on aspects of community, but will delve more deeply into social justice themes including race, morality and forgiveness.

Though obviously the more familiar of the two plays, “To Kill a Mockingbird” will prove just as wild as its precedent, “Mr. Burns.”

“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a poignant and thoughtful piece of drama,” Long said. “And it’s something that need to be expressed.”

Long said that he chose “To Kill a Mockingbird” specifically because of the social justice themes explored in the play.

“We wanted something socially relevant,” Long said.

He also explained why he chose two tonally different pieces for this season.

“So many things go into selecting a season,” Long said. “We want to create as many opportunities as possible for students and we want [them] to explore a variety of genres.”

“Mr. Burns” will open on Sept. 24 and run through Oct. 24. Tickets are available for purchase on the theatre’s website and at the theater.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” will open Nov. 12. It is predicted to sell out quickly, so purchase tickets early.