Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, On Stage in Selma

Sep 21, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Theatre

by Destiney Warren

If you’re looking for something weirdly awesome to do this weekend, I suggest going to see the Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play play at the Selma Arts Center. As an avid Simpsons fan, I was really excited to go see a play that was loosely based around one of my favorite pop-culture icons. This play definitely surpassed my expectations. However, a word to the wise, this is not a play to take your children or grandparents to, unless your grandparents are cool with some occasions of violence, weapons, and cursing.

Like I said, this was definitely a unique, though, awesome play. I had never seen or even heard of the Mr. Burns play before the Selma Arts Center decided to put it on. The play opens with a group of six people after some kind of nationwide collapse of all electrical power. This of course has caused a breakdown of society, and people were separated from their families and friends as well as being worried about the numerous nuclear plants that were in the country. The group of people is passing time trying to remember the “Cape Feare” episode of the Simpsons. As they sit around the fire they each try to remember lines and scenes from the show, interspersed with memories and anecdotes from their own lives. mr burns

Fast-forward seven years into the future and we open with Act II. The group has now become a traveling act, performing episodes of the Simpsons from place to place. However, other groups have also formed and have started performing their own episodes. Lines and scenes have become extremely important in this new society and are considered very precious, being “bought” for things like lithium batteries. The group attempts to stay on top of the game with their episodes, and this causes some turmoil within the group as well as between the traveling acts.

As we move into Act III we are once more transported 75 years into the future, with the future civilization putting on a performance of the “Cape Feare” episode, however the episode is now mixed with the story of the electrical breakdown that they outlived and also blended with other pop-culture references from the world before the collapse. mr burns

The cast did an amazing job and you could definitely tell the hours of preparation that had gone into the show. I really loved the character of Gibson, one of the survivors, played by Claudio Laso. Laso blended a perfect mixture of the humor of the “Simpsons” episode and funny interactions with the other characters, with the depressing truth of the effects of the apocalypse into his character. I also really enjoyed the character of Mr. Burns played by Bryan DeBaets. DeBaets portrayed a more sinister Mr. Burns and he captured the dark side of the apocalypse completely. Casey Ballard shined as Jenny, one of the strong but deeply affected survivors. Hers was a flawless portrayal of how one might feel at the beginning of an apocalypse and how that person can change over the years. The set was also amazing; you could see the attention to detail and the work that had gone into it.

This is definitely a play worth going to see. I really have to praise the director, Juan L. Guzman, for tackling such a difficult play and doing it so well. It was very interesting to see an example of what the world might be like in the future, and it was a poignant reminder of how our simple pop-culture icons can change and become a staple of not only our present, but also maybe even the future. mr burns

So if you’re okay with something a little different, then Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, is the play for you. Be forewarned, it is not a play for someone looking for lighthearted fun, it’s a play that deals with serious ideas while mixing in a good dose of humor. But, I promise if you give it a chance, it will be something that you enjoy and teaches a valuable lesson. This is a play that will give you something to talk about for a long time after, so make sure you catch it! It runs September 23, 24, and 25, with two last shows September 30 and October 1 at the Selma Arts Center, 1935 High Street Selma, CA. Get your tickets online at or at their box office.

You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Destiney Warren is a Senior at Fresno State studying English Literature and Creative Writing. She likes watching Netflix and sleeping.


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