PlayMakers Repertory Company presents actor-playwright Nilaja Sun in her timely one-woman show “No Child…” Jan. 11-15. The show is part of the theater’s innovative PRC 2 second stage series.

Sun was a teaching artist in the New York public school system, while also writing and performing in numerous Off-Broadway shows. She turned this experience into a rapid-fire, kaleidoscopic look at a multiethnic classroom of students — plus their parents, school administrators and staff, including a janitor and a security guard working the front door metal detector.

“‘No Child…’ is an exuberant, insightful portrait of life at fictional Malcolm X High School; a refreshingly un-cynical portrayal of some of the individuals shaping America’s next generation on the educational frontline,” said PlayMakers producing artistic director Joseph Haj. “We’re thrilled to bring Nilaja Sun to our stage for a rousing theatrical look at a topic so meaningful to all of us in today’s society.”  

“No Child…” has been showered with awards, including the Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best New American Play and Best Solo Performance, and the US Comedy Arts Festival Award for Best Solo Show, among others.

The play has been hailed as an “intelligent, clear-eyed and sometimes painfully funny take on the absurdly dysfunctional state of public education,” according to The Boston Globe. “‘No Child…’ is “in a class by itself!” raved The Washington Post. “No child left behind? Not while Nilaja Sun is around,” reported The New York Observer.

Hal Brooks will direct. Brooks is renowned for mounting powerful solo shows, such as Pulitzer Prize finalist “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” by Will Eno. Brooks staged the original production of “No Child…,” which has played nationally and internationally following its year-long Obie Award-winning run Off-Broadway. He is artistic director of the Cape Cod Theatre Project.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly and 2 p.m. on Jan. 15. Tickets are still available as part of the theater’s 2011-2012 season subscription packages. Individual tickets are $10-$35. For more information, call the PlayMakers box office at (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit www.playmakersrep.org. PRC² shows are presented in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road.

This is the fifth season for PlayMakers’ smash hit PRC2 series, where each presentation combines an intriguing, topical production coupled with engaging post-show discussions with the creative artists and expert panelists.

During “No Child…” panelists will include:

  • Graig Meyer, coordinator of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program;
  • Joel Rosch of Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy;
  • Lynden Harris, founder and director of Hidden Voices, a Hillsborough theater project;
  • Raúl F. Granados Gámez, migrant youth director for the Levante Leadership Institute youth program of the Southeastern organization Student Action with Farm Workers;
  • Brian Ammons, assistant professor of the practice in education at Duke;
  • Dan Kimberg, founder and executive director of Student U, a program for students in Durham Public Schools; and
  • representatives of the UNC School of Education, Durham Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Following “No Child…” the PRC2 Season concludes with the world premiere of “Penelope,” written and performed by Ellen McLaughlin, with live music composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider (April 25-29). PlayMakers’ Mainstage Season continues with Shakespearean coming-of-age epic “The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V” (performed in repertory Jan. 28- March 4) and the uproarious British farce “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn (April 6-24).

PlayMakers, the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League of New York has named PlayMakers one of the best regional theaters in America and The Independent Weekly calls PlayMakers the best live theatre company in the Triangle. 

Web site: www.playmakersrep.org

Art: For photos and poster art, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359, cmahan@email.unc.edu