Washburn University alumnus and Topeka native Gary Jackson’s poem cycle “Missing You, Metropolis” won the prestigious Cave Canem Poetry award for poetry in 2009. Now his poems will come to life on stage at Washburn. Performances of “Missing You, Metropolis” are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23 and 2:00 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Andrew & Georgia Neese Gray Theater, Garvey Fine Arts Center, Washburn campus. Tickets are $8 per person and Washburn students, faculty and staff may attend for free with a Washburn ID card. Jackson, who now lives in Albuquerque, will attend the Feb. 22 and 23 performances and reception and book signing will follow the Feb. 23 performance.
The poems in “Missing You, Metropolis” tell about coming of age as an African-American in Topeka, losing a sister and the suicide of a good friend. Through it all, the author’s love of comic books and superheroes provides a mythic framework and texture for the poems. On stage, the intersection of Magneto, Spider-Man and Juggernaut with the lives of Jackson, his friends and family is expressed through new art and music produced especially for this show.
The play is a collaboration of Washburn faculty members Tom Averill, writer-in-residence, and professor, English; Israel Wasserstein, lecturer, English; Eric McHenry, assistant professor, English; and Penny Weiner, associate professor, Theatre. Weiner will direct the play.
“The blend of poetry, theater, visual art and music is essential to relay the richness of this tale of reality, fantasy, love and loss,” said Weiner. “Together with the actors, these elements bring Jackson’s beautiful, humorous and poignant poetry from page to stage.”
Visual artists include George Renault, Jessica Weiner, Will Willmott, Juliet Renault and Dane Shobe. Todd Schwartz is in charge of visual effects and images. Robert Baker and Michele Flanagan are composing, performing and coordinating the sound score. Set design and execution are by Lynn Wilson. Costume design and execution are by Tony Naylor who also provides technical assistance with John Hunter.
The play includes sexual language and themes. For more information, contact (785) 670-1639.
Theatre department, 785-670-1639
Amanda Hughes, university relations, 785-670-2153