The Ars Nova Production of Underground Railroad Game

APRIL 4 - APRIL 29, 2018

  • By Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard with Lightning Rod Special
  • Directed by Taibi Magar
  • Approximately ninety minutes with no intermission

At Hanover Middle School, two teachers get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power. The quick-witted duo goes round after round on the mat of our nation’s history in an R-rated, far-reaching, and absolutely unflinching comedy.

Underground Railroad Game is a fourth-wall-breaking, audience-implicating, “in-all-ways sensational” (New York Times) experience. You will never forget which side of history you were on.


"The year’s most resounding testament to the theater’s continuing power to shock."

Ben Brantley, New York Times, “The Best Theater of 2016”

"Explosive! Fearlessly, ferociously uninhibited… It’s wildly entertaining."

New Yorker

About Jennifer Kidwell

JENNIFER KIDWELL (Playwright and Performer) is a performing artist. Recent projects: Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (Dan Hurlin), I Understand Everything Better (David Neumann/advanced beginner group), Sans Everything (AS 220), Antigone (The Wilma Theater), I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). She’s currently working with Geoff Sobelle and Nichole Canuso and is a PITC company member, a Wilma Theater Associated Artist, a co-director of the theater company Lightning Rod Special and a co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and hyperallergic.com. In 2013 she was awarded the TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship (with PITC), naming Underground Railroad Game as her primary project. She is a 2016 Pew Fellow.

About Scott R. Sheppard

SCOTT R. SHEPPARD (Playwright and Performer) is a performer, creator, director, and teacher living in Philadelphia. As Co-Director of the Philadelphia-based theater company Lightning Rod Special, he has been a creator/performer for all of their productions. Scott is a member of the inaugural class at Pig Iron’s School for Advanced Performance Training (2011-2013) and was a creator/performer for Pig Iron Theatre Company’s 99 Breakups and a performer in PITC’s Gentlemen Volunteers (2015-16 remount). In 2014 he was a guest faculty member at Colgate University where he directed and co-created the student production, Seeing the Beast. Recent credits: co-creator/performer in Holden (Ice Factory, NYC and FringeArts, Philadelphia) and Sans Everything (AS220, Providence and Charlestown Working Theater, Boston) and performer in The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Arden Theatre Co., Philadelphia). Scott is also a 2016 recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Performing Arts. He would like to thank Ars Nova for their mentorship and insistence on dreaming big.

About the Director: Taibi Magar

TAIBI MAGAR (Director) is an Egyptian-American director based in New York, and a graduate of the Brown/Trinity MFA program. In New York, Taibi has directed and developed work with TFANA, the Women’s Project Theatre, Rising Phoenix Rep and INTAR Theatre. Regionally, she has directed and developed work with Trinity Repertory Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare & Company and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is the recipient of a Stephen Sondheim Fellowship, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Fellowship, a Public Theater Shakespeare Fellowship, the TFANA Actors and Directors Project Fellowship and is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Taibi is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers union and is represented by Ross Weiner at ICM Partners. Upcoming 16/17 Season: Juilliard, Alley Theatre, and Guthrie Theater.