Theater Preview: Prof. Natsu Onoda Power Adapts “The Lathe of Heaven”

January 25, 2018

Photo: Women’s Voices Theater Festival

As part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies Program collaborated with the Washington-based Spooky Action Theater troupe to produce “The Lathe of Heaven.” The play, based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1971 sci-fi novel of the same name, has been adapted for the stage by Prof. Natsu Onoda Power (of Wind Me Up, Maria! fame), who also acts as the scenic designer. “Lathe” features professional D.C. actors in the lead roles and seven Georgetown students in the ensemble: Mark Camilli (COL ’19), Vanessa Chapoy (COL ‘18), Jonathan Compo (NHS ‘20), Michaela Farrell (COL ‘18), Kate Ginna (COL ‘18), ​Maddy Rice (COL ‘20), and alumnus Adrian Iglesias (COL ‘14).

The story, set in an alternative future, centers around George Orr (Matthew Marcus), a young man whose dreams literally become reality. He enlists the help of sleep psychologist Dr. William Haber (Matthew Vaky), who, through the use of hypnosis and a machine called “the augmentor,” begins to control George’s dreams in order to alter reality as he sees fit. George, realising that he is being manipulated, seeks the help of lawyer Heather Lelache (Erica Chamblee). However, the more reality changes with each dream, the harder it becomes to separate truth from fiction.

Power uses a variety of mediums to bring the world of George Orr to life including puppets, a moving comic animation, and paper cut-outs against a live-projector. Bright flashing lights and an upbeat, 1970s and techno soundtrack work in tangent with the fast-paced narrative. Several scenes contain musical numbers, adding to the play’s humorous and campy nature.

“In the news, nightmares are becoming reality,” said Power. In its exploration of the ubiquitous ‘fact versus fake news’ conundrum, the play is still relevant today.  

“Lathe” has two showtimes on January 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and two showtimes on January 27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m at the Devine Studio Theatre in the Davis Performing Arts Center. You can buy tickets at performingarts.georgetown.edu or by calling 202-687-ARTS (2787) Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m.

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