News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Bart Simpson and the Apocalypse

By Anna Mann on May 13, 2015 12:00 AM

Apocalypse survivors reenact a Simpsons episode that revolves around cartoon villain Montgomery Burns in Anne Washburn's play. Photo by Joan Marcus

The highly-acclaimed Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, by Anne Washburn ’91, will have a regional premiere at Portland Playhouse, May 13–June 7.

The play leads us into an unlikely post-catastrophe, post-electricity future in which survivors pass the time recounting episodes from The Simpsons. As they are told, and told, and told again, these snippets from our pop culture become the stuff of epics, myths, and legends.

Prof. Peter Ksander [theatre 2012–] is scenic and lighting designer for the production. 

Learn more about Anne in this Reed magazine story by Mary O'Hara ’12. Also, watch an interview in which she talks about the role of myth in Mr. Burns, why she chose Bart, and “the unpredictable route that stories take when they are cranked through culture's translation machine.”

Anne won a Guggenheim award for drama and performance art in 2009 and a Whiting Award in March. Whiting Awards are given annually to 10 exceptional emerging writers and come with a $50,000 cash prize. Judges remarked that Anne is one of the most brilliant playwrights working today—engaging with theatre and with the world. “She is a master of form. Her plays can be challenging to watch: strange, original, and haunting. She fills out and opens her conceits, making them richer and deeper with inventive language and emotional weight.” A world premiere of her new play, Antlia Pneumatica, opened at Playwrights Horizons in New York in March.