Fort Worth, TX – Jubilee Theatre begins its 41st season on October 1 with the seriocomedy “Fabulation or, The Re-education of Undine.”
In Jubilee’s consistent mastery, a “Ready for Primetime” corps of the top local and regional thespians and musical talents converge at the downtown Fort Worth entertainment enclave, once again taking the lead in giving voice to the African American experience.
“Fabulation,” written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Ayvaunn Penn, tells the saga of Undine Barnes Calles, an ambitious and extremely confident (perhaps over-confident) socialite, businesswoman, wife, and mother-to-be who has climbed her way to the pinnacle of success. When a major cold dose of betrayal and reality hits her smack in the face, she plummets all the way to the bottom, in despair.
To repair her life, Undine must return to her urban roots: Brooklyn’s hard-knock-life Walt Whitman projects.
Can Undine turn her life around … in a Mary J. Blige sort of way? Or will she fall even further?
Rachel N. Poole, who stars as Undine, says of her lead character: “Undine is a woman who knows what she wants and is unapologetic about the choices she has had to make to better herself. Her only real regret is dropping her guard enough for someone to take advantage of her. When we first see Undine, she is at the top of her game. Unfortunately, she loved a man who would steal from her, causing her to return to her roots.
“That’s when the ‘real’ begins.”
In spite of the high drama, however, Undine’s story is uniquely told with a clever and brilliant twist of comedy, thanks to the skillful writing of Nottage and the sharp directing of Penn, who also states that “Fabulation” fits well into today’s COVID-19 pandemic times, where success and happiness can be destroyed in one quick swoop.
“Over this past year and a half, adversity has caused society to move through the sometimes painful yet essential process of rediscovering ourselves – the good, the bad, and the ugly,” said Penn. “Many of us have been shifted out of our lands of milk and honey into what looks like barren land. Yet one of the many lessons this pandemic has taught us is that we can flourish even in seemingly impossible situations.”
Ms. Poole (Undine) is a Dallas native and a TCU Musical Theatre Degree graduate. She has graced her presence in numerous theatres throughout the North Texas region, but not just as an actor. She masterfully has expressed her artistic talents also as an assistant director, stage manager, and other miscellaneous jobs backstage. She has held internships with many of the major equity theatres in DFW, including Dallas Theatre Center, Casa Mañana, and Circle Theatre, along with other theatres which have included Runway Theatre, Greater Lewisville Community Theatre and Onstage in Bedford.
Also on the “Fabulation” cast are Mario Terrell, II, Kris Black Jasper, Ron Johnson, Sydney Hewitt, Davian Jackson, Jose Ruiz-Gonzalez, and Ken’ja L. Brown.
“Fabulation or, The Re-education of Undine” made its premiere on the Off-Broadway circuit in 2004 and won an Obie Award the next year. It has played in London, England, Baltimore, Maryland, and returned to New York City at the Signature Theatre in 2018. DCMetroTheaterArts.com called the production:
“…robustly entertaining… In charting the social fall and moral rise of Undine Barnes Calles…FABULATION subverts…comic and sentimental glibness with punchy social insights and the firecracker snap of unexpected humor. …”
Charlayne Woodard is among the list of distinguished actors who have played Undine.
“Fabulation or, The Re-education of Undine” runs through Oct. 24. Helping round out Jubilee’s 2021-2022 season is “A Phunk Dr’s Christmas” (Dec. 10-12), “Lil & Satchmo” (Jan. 28-Feb. 27, 2022), “Over Forty” (March 25-April 24, 2022), and “If Pretty Hurts, Ugly must be an MF: An African Folktale” (May 27-June 24, 2022).
The critically acclaimed multi-award-winning “Dreamgirls” (July 29-August 28, 2022) wraps up Season 41. For tickets, call 817.338.4411 or visit www.jubileetheatre.org.