Somewhere, a Primer for the End of Days (Spring 2023)

May 11-14 & 18-20, 2023 in Spanos Theatre

Survivors of years-long natural and humanitarian disasters find each other in the forests of the West Coast. Blood relations and found families rely on each other as they face new crises: a blight targeting tree roots, and the disappearance of insects. But Cassandra, an entomologist, and her brother Alexander, an engineer, find hope in the migration of Monarch butterflies to new nesting grounds. Is this our end? Or are we, like a butterfly, transforming?

Director’s Note 

“End. Beginning. They often look the same.” 

When I was teaching middle school students, I was baffled by their obsession with post-apocalyptic book series like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Penryn and the End of Days, and others. I wondered why young people wanted to read fiction about collapsed societies, dystopias, and violent struggles of revolution and resistance. The heroines and heroes of these books are charismatic and compelling, but I suspect there is something deeper to their appeal. They rebel against corrupt, exploitive, and unsustainable systems and the powerful people that uphold them. We are now a few generations into the climate crisis, and yet progress and change has been frustratingly slow and inadequate. If there is a shared sense that environmental disaster is inevitable, maybe the appeal of post-apocalyptic stories is the aftermath: the hope of rebuilding systems and ways of life that are sustainable, just, and in sync with the natural world.  

We hope this story is both inspiring and cautionary. We set Somewhere in an alternate timeline in which human civilization began to collapse sometime in 1991. When playwright Marisela Treviño Orta joined us as a Visiting Artist last quarter, she explained that humans in the play are a few years into the crisis, yet many behave as if nothing has changed. They still dress for work and go to jobs even though the power grid is down. They pay mortgages and rent on land that can no longer support life. They hold on to their fear and distrust of others, even as survival on one’s own is impossible. Humankind seems to be divided between those clinging to the past —looking back at 1990 as “The Last Good Year,” with Ghost being the last blockbuster film that Hollywood produced — and those preparing for the future. This play is about how those who look back and those who look ahead try to live together.  

Our hope is that post-apocalyptic stories stay firmly in fictional, imagined realms. While it may be too late to avert environmental catastrophe in the Somewhere timeline, it’s not too late for ours. But Cassandra seems to be speaking directly to us when she warns, “You have less time than you think. We all do.”

— Ramón Esquivel

Dramaturgy Projects for Somewhere: A Primer for the End of Days

Max Kennel's dramaturgy project on World Building
Ella Marchal's dramaturgy project on Monarch Butterflies


CASSANDRA — Niah Pratt
ALEXANDER — Eric Monjoy
DIANA — Sophia Tinkey
SYBIL — Layli Veach
EPH — Taylor Wendell Lozano 
CORIN — Owen Lazar 

BUTTERFLIES — Millie Harrison, Lucie Labrecque, & Helen Zhan 

Artistic/Production Team


Director Ramón Esquivel
Costume Designer Mentor - Thomas Bernard
Costume Shop Manager - Laina Babb
Scenic Designer’s Mentor & Technical Director - Clint Bryson
Lighting Designer’s Mentor - Brian Healy
Movement Consultant - Diana Stanton
Sound Designer - Ramón Esquivel


Assistant Director - Elise Chubb
Costume Designer - Gigi Bjork-Nelson
Scenic Designer - Hannah Drechsel
Lighting Designer - Madeline Webb
Stage Manager - Ashley Tokarzewski
Asst Stage Managers - Nina Hernandez & Drew Mahecha-Sherrard
Dramaturgs - Max Kennel & Ella Marchal
Composer (Transition Music) – Taylor Wendell Lozano
Composer (Kaleidoscope Music) – John Salmon via Free Music Archive

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