Brewsie and Willie

Presented by CalArts Center for New Performance in association with Poor Dog Group

Gertrude Stein based her text for Brewsie and Willie on encounters with G.I.s in Paris at the end of World War II, and this powerful adaptation reveals how relevant it remains today. A disparate group of American soldiers and nurses wait in limbo to return to their homeland and an uncertain future: What work will they have? What will America’s future be? And what is their place in it?

Under the direction of Travis Preston, timeless concerns of a post-war generation are vibrantly embodied by members of performance collective Poor Dog Group to explore the hearts and minds of a generation for which “home” has ceased to be familiar. Set in an empty loft against the backdrop of downtown Los Angeles, this layered production draws live-feed video and original music into the mix.

Written by author Gertrude Stein as a short novel almost exclusively in dialogue form, Brewsie and Willie is a portrait of class anxiety – the class that fights our wars and is then left to grapple with the anxiety of return to the larger American culture. World War II has just ended, and Brewsie, Willie, and an array of their fellow soldiers and nurses are in some border-less, undefined space, waiting to return to the United States and civilian life. This period of aimless R&R becomes a space of reflection and thoughtfulness – and of vast concern over their future lives back in the US.

“This is essential theater, if anything is,” said the Stage and Cinema review. “It is evidence, in fact, that miracles are indeed possible in the theater. Yes, it’s a miracle, pure and simple. That’s what it is.”

In June, 2011, CNP was invited by the RADAR LA Festival to remount its 2010 production of Brewsie and Willie.

Production Team

Gertrude Stein, Author
Travis Preston, Director
Marissa Chibás, Erik Ehn, Travis Preston, Adaptation
Andrew Conrad and Andrew Gilbert, Composers
Mira Kingsley, Choreographer
Juli Crockett , Dramaturge
Efren Delgadillo Jr. , Scenic Designer
E.B. Brooks, Costume Designer
Efren Delgadillo, Jr. and Adam Hunter, Lighting Design
Jeff Teeter, Jesse Bonnell, John Kern, Video Design
Oscar Arevelo, Technical Director
Justin D. Schlegel, Stage Manager
Carol Bixler, Producer
Jonney Ahmanson, Brewsie
Jesse Bonnell, Ed
Caitlyn Conlin, Janet
Brad Culver, Willie
Andrew Gilbert, Jo
Matthew Goodrich, Henry
Lucy Griffin, Pauline
Adam Hunter, Donald Paul
John Kern, Richard
Jesse Saler, Brock/Jimmie
Catherine Ventura, Jane
Itamar Stern, Assistant Director
Asta Hostetter, Assistant Costume Designer
Laura Kay Swanson, Associate Producer