For Immediate Release: mit dramashop Presents The Demolition Downtown

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For Immediate Release: MIT Dramashop Presents

The Demolition Downtown

by Tennessee Williams directed by Jay Scheib
"…The Demolition Downtown is a multi-lingual satire of senseless violence, flirty self-destruction, and everyone-for-themselves survivalism. Well, actually, it’s nine explosions to the end of world, and the caviar has never tasted better..."

Replete with the subtitle Count ten in Arabic—and try to run, Tennessee Williams’ play The Demolition Downtown exposes America’s upper-middle-class deterioration with the abandon of an episode of South Park. Williams reveals the harsh realities of a now white-hot civil rights movement through the haze of America’s increasingly desperate materialism. Two gorgeous young couples in cocktail attire struggle to play out their daily lives with the panache of young executives—in denial to the end—as the explosions grow nearer and nearer until—…

Perhaps the greatest American dramatist of the 20th century, Tennessee Williams made his career on the amplification of things that eat away at America’s otherwise pristine façade. Written in 1971, just 3 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., The Demolition Downtown was composed at a decisive moment in the American civil rights movement. In the years leading up to 1971, a peaceful victory for the civil rights movement was challenged violently on an almost weekly basis across the United States. Organizations like the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam worked hard to provide extraordinarily necessary services and braced themselves to resist violent attacks from the American establishment. Williams predicted a violent revolution—and he predicted that upper-middle-class America would have to lose.
This bleak assessment is the engine that drives The Demolition Downtown… Packed with Williams’ trademark wit and flaming humour—one explosion after another.

In collaboration with MIT Dramashop, Director and MIT Professor Jay Scheib brings this long-lost Williams one-act to the stage in a highly physical, multi-lingual production. Staged as a two-part drama, this American problem is slowly revealed to be a global concern which, if not addressed, will lead to the same ruin that Williams predicts for the United States—but on a global scale. The language of the play slowly evolves into Korean, Bengali, Oromo, Russian, Spanish, Lithuanian, and Cantonese—in a display of both MIT’s diversity and a symbol for real alternatives. A thrilling ensemble of young performers leaps to the occasion, led by veterans of the MIT stage: Helen McCreery, Virginia Corless, Masha Kamenetska, and Youngsun Cho. It’s a wild ride and if you sit in the front row, you’ll get wet for sure. Hilarious. The Demolition Downtown will send you home with your bell rung—or your money back.

The Demolition Downtown OPENS: APRIL 21st

And runs April 22nd, 23rd, 28th, 29th, and 30th (all shows at 8pm)

At Kresge Little Theater, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
For tickets or email Tickets are $8, with discounts available for students
Contact: Helen McCreery, Publicity Manager

Production web site:


MIT Dramashop is a co-curricular student theater organization open to all members of the MIT community. With an intense commitment to excellence in the performance arts, MIT Dramashop is at once a producing organization and a community dedicated to the creation and perpetuation of a space for personal exchange and artistic development through a sustained interaction with the theatre. In addition to producing celebrated events each year, such as Playwrights in Performance, the fall student-written, student-directed festival of one-act plays, and two large-scale faculty-directed mainstage productions, MIT Dramashop organizes film viewings, field-trips to local theatres, workshops, and readings. In the broadest of terms, MIT Dramashop offers an open door to all members of the academic community with a desire to interface with the performing arts at MIT, in Cambridge, Boston and the beyond.

We offer many unique opportunities for individuals interested in acting, directing, stage management, producing, writing, and design in all fields: sound, light, costumes, objects, scenery, video and more... Contact us at:
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR OF The Demolition Downtown

Jay Scheib, Director

Recent projects for the theatre include The Medea after Heiner Müller and Euripides at La Mama in New York and multimedia adaptations of two monumental works of Russian naturalism—In this is the End of Sleeping based on Chekhov’s Platonov fragment as part of the Chekhov Now Festival in NY and Tolstoy’s naturalistic classic The Power of Darkness with Pont Mühely in Budapest. Both of these projects were developed in residence at MIT in Cambridge. Other recent works include the New York Premier of Kevin Oakes’, The Vomit Talk of Ghosts at the Flea Theater and Musset’s classic romance Lorenzaccio at the Loeb Drama Center while in residence at Harvard University. New York credits include Bernard-Marie Koltès' West Pier at the Ohio Theatre; a studio production of Falling and Waving, at Arts at St. Ann's in Brooklyn; and Herakles at Chashama in Times Square. Projects in Berlin include MARGARETHHAMLET at Schwedterstr 12; an adaptation of Aeschylus' trilogy Oresteia AMERICA AMERICA commissioned by the Exiles Festival at the Berliner Staatsbank; and two plays by Lothar Trolle, Fernsehen and Vormittag in der Freiheit at the 3. Stock theater of the Volksbuehne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin. Other international credits include: Glass/Mohn and This Place is a Desert both in Budapest; The War Plays by Edward Bond, Only the Parties based on Chekhov, Bartelby, Wall Street, NEBRASKA after Bruce Springsteen and Herman Melville, and In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields by Bernard-Marie Koltès, at the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria. Regionally, Scheib has directed The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertold Brecht at the Yale Repertory Theatre produced by the Yale Dramatic Association.

Winner of the Richard Sherwood Award, Jay Scheib is an assistant professor in the Department of Music and Theatre Arts at MIT and is a regular guest professor at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, Institut für Schauspiel und Regie, in Salzburg, Austria. Scheib holds an MFA in theatre directing from Columbia University.


Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams was born on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, the second child of a quintessential southern belle and a traveling salesman. Throughout his writing career, Williams drew upon his family and his Southern roots as inspirations for much of his work. He was especially close to his sister, Rose, who is incorporated into every play that he wrote. Williams’ plays (which include The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) often deal with intense portrayals of desire, violence, and human brutality. They are powerful, poetic, and haunting portraits of humanity that take on an ever-increasing relevance in the world today. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tennessee Williams has been one of the most important forces in American drama.

The Demolition Downtown is made by the following individuals

assistant direction by Giselle Andrejack, scenic design by Bill Fregosi, costumes by Leslie Cocuzzo-Held and Samina Shaikh, lights by Karen Perlow and Maura Cordial, objects by Karin Habermann and Roger Fischer, camera by Nasruddin Nazerali, dramaturgy by Kenneth Roraback, publicity by Virginia Corless and Helen McCreery, technical direction by Mike Katz, this stage is managed by Susan Wilson with Tom Stammers, and directed by Jay Scheib
Produced by Hayden Taylor and MIT DRAMASHOP
with Performances by Ashlie Brown, Youngsun Cho, Virginia Corless, Masha Kamenetska, Jonas Kubilius, Ryan Low, Ben Margo, Helen McCreery, Constantinos Tsoucalus, Hui Ying Wen, and Jessica Zaman.

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