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SEASON 32 | OCTOBER 2019

DIONYSUS IN AMERICA
OCTOBER 10-20,2019 8PM

A new play by Poet and Combat Veteran Jenny Pacanowski
Directed by Karen Alvarado and J.M. Meyer, Thinkery & Verse
Produced by Canopy Theatre @ The VORTEX for the Austin Veterans Arts FESTIVAL.

Dionysus in America imagines a dystopia in which women suffer endless harassment, and right-wing politics wrenches away women's control over their own bodies; in response, Americanwomen heed the call of Dionysus, and flee to new, strange, euphoric rites in Iraq, the cradle of civilization. General Pentheus, leader of the American war machine, swears to go to the Mesopotamia, liberate the women, and drag them back to the United States. Unfortunately, he operates unawares that his uncle, a transformed and unrecognizable Dionysus, God of ritual madness, has decided to punish America's hubris for rejecting his mother, his divinity, and his seemingly inexplicable rites of devotion. 

About the Play

Pulitzer Prize-winning  playwright Paula Vogel describes Jenny Pacanwoski’s debut play as “sharp and clear and mesmerizing,” and featuring a brilliant inversion of one of Euripides’ main themes. “Paula Vogel is right,” says Karen Alvarado, co-director of the project. “Jenny’s voice is like ripping an electrical wire out of the wall and into plain sight. It takes what we think about the Bacchae, and makes us feel it.” Co-director J.M. (‘Johnny’) Meyer adds “Jenny retains Euripides’ unique poetic verve, and super-charges it with her incredible flair for capturing the sound and meaning of ‘boy-talk’, the stuff you still here in dick-whipped frat houses on West Campus—and in the American military in which Jenny and I both served.”

Jenny’s play began as a part of a special veteran-oriented project with Aquila Theatre in New York City. Alvarado and Meyer then workshopped the play with Pacanowski to hone its edge on the ‘iron-biting whetstone’ of Austin audiences. To write the play, Jenny Pacanowski carefully traced the steps of Vietnam veteran (and Austin luminary) Paul Woodruff. Pacanowski’s new play conforms to its classical model in structure, while upending expectations at every other turn.  J. M. “Johnny” Meyer argues that, “This play is rooted in America. It never really depicts the Middle East, but instead relies on our fears and misconceptions about so-called alien cultures to manipulate the audiences’ emotions. Euripides’ The Bacchae shouldn’t just turn you on. It should challenge you.” Dionysus in America imagines a dystopia in which women suffer endless harassment, and right-wing politics wrenches away women's control over their own bodies; in response, American women heed the call of Dionysus, and flee to new, strange, euphoric rites in Iraq, the cradle of civilization. General Pentheus, leader of the American war machine, swears to go to the Mesopotamia, liberate the women, and drag them back to the United States. Unfortunately, he operates unaware that his uncle, a transformed and unrecognizable Dionysus, God of ritual madness, has decided to punish America's hubris for rejecting his mother, his divinity, and his seemingly inexplicable rites of devotion.

Pulitzer Prize-winning  playwright Paula Vogel describes Jenny Pacanowski’s debut play as “sharp and clear and mesmerizing,” and featuring a brilliant inversion of one of Euripides’ main themes. “Paula Vogel is right,” says Karen Alvarado, co-director of the project. “Jenny’s voice is like ripping an electrical wire out of the wall and into plain sight. It takes what we think about the Bacchae, and makes us feel it.” Co-director J.M. (‘Johnny’) Meyer adds “Jenny retains Euripides’ unique poetic verve, and super-charges it with her incredible flair for capturing the sound and meaning of ‘boy-talk’, the stuff you still here in dick-whipped frat houses on West Campus—and in the American military in which Jenny and I both served.”