Artistic Director Matt Bassett Discusses Hub Theatre’s DC Premiere of ‘The Burn’

In the Hub Theatre’s first full production under Artistic Director Matt Bassett, the company will be producing The Burn by playwright Philip Dawkins.

The Burn will be the first Hub production in its new temporary performance venue at NextStop Theatre in Herndon, VA.

Matt Bassett. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.
Matt Bassett. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.

According to Bassett, The Burn is a contemporary examination of The Crucible using social media as its lens. Mercedes is an outsider. Tara makes sure Mercedes knows she is an outsider. When a high school production of The Crucible forces the two together, tensions escalate into acts of bullying – both online and IRL (in real life).

This DC-area premiere of The Burn explores what happens to a teacher and his students when a classroom conflict turns into an online witch-hunt. “Dawkins’ play does a great job of illustrating how much power one person can have in the life of another,” said Bassett.

David Siegel: What is the attraction of The Burn to the Hub?

Matt Bassett: The Burn uses a high school production of The Crucible to examine anonymity in the social media age and what being a person actually means. Dawkins’ depth of character, dexterity with the setting, and sparkling dialogue attracted me to it as a full production. His work always plays well for us due to its meshing with Hub’s sensibilities: tell a simple story with complexity of character and bold theatrical opportunity

How did the Hub Theatre first become aware of Dawkins’ The Burn?

When The Hub opened the area premiere of Philip Dawkins’ The Happiest Place on Earth, Philip was able to attend. While he was in town, he started to tell me about a commission he was going to premiere for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre dealing with online bullying, recovery, and The Crucible. I was immediately intrigued by its humanity and boldness.

Please tell us about the cast and creative team for The Burn.

We have a talented cast of local performers who will each make their official Hub Theatre debut. They are Gabby Wolfe, Chloe Mikala, Christina Day, Rae Venna, and Elliott Kashner. The design team features a number of returning Hub collaborators, including Elizabeth Zuck as set designer (Failure: A Love Story; The Typographer’s Dream; in a word; Secrets of the Universe), Catherine Girardi as lighting designer (Failure: A Love Story; The Typographer’s Dream; in a word), Reid May as sound designer (in a word; The Happiest Place on Earth), Amy Kellett as props designer (Peekaboo; Secrets of the Universe) and Hub newcomer Grace Mitchell as costume designer.

The Burn will be performed at NextStop Theatre?

The Burn is the first full production of The Hub’s Season 11. We will be performing in our temporary venue, NextStop Theatre in Herndon. NextStop has been a friend to The Hub. We are thrilled to play in their house for this production. The NextStop space itself is our flavor: simple, effective with lots of staging opportunity.

The Burn is a Hub Theatre production that plays April 26 to May 11, 2019, at NextStop Theatre Company, 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon, VA. Purchase tickets at the door or go online.