Professor Kenneth Prestininzi directs world premiere of ‘Flood’
Kenneth Prestininzi, associate professor and chair of Connecticut College’s Theater Department, recently directed the world premiere of the play Flood at Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s Copaken Stage in Missouri. The production opened Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 19.
Flood, an absurdist tragicomedy written by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, centers around retired couple Darren and Edith, who live on the 19th floor of an apartment building. Darren is constantly working on a so-called masterpiece while Edith patiently waits for him to finish so they can have tea and enjoy the view out of their windows together.
The couple’s adult children live lower in the building with their own families. One day when a flood hits and water begins to rise inside of the building, Darren Jr. and Edith Jr. try urgently to make their obliviously-in-denial parents understand the severity of the situation, with frustrating results.
Prestininzi says, “Flood was the culmination of a creative relationship with a brilliant playwright.” He and Deen, who met at New Dramatists, an organization of playwrights founded in 1949, have been working on the play for three years. “It’s a comic masterpiece that matches plays by Beckett and Churchill. It is one of my greatest professional honors to premiere the play.”
Although the play was performed more than 1,000 miles from Conn, Prestininzi sees a strong connection between his work in Missouri and his work at the College. “The reception of this rare, astonishing play confirms what we as a department are doing with our students,” he explains. “We make space for new breakthroughs in perception on our stages—and breakthroughs may bring great pleasure, sorrow and liberty, and release great laughter as we recognize our strangeness and ridiculous logic, while remaining compassionate for how we struggle to escape the masks and entrapments we have knowingly and unknowingly accepted.”
He adds, “I'm grateful that in an age of imitation, Kansas City Rep, a professional theater, embraced this truly original and unique play. I return from this experience loving theater all the more.”