Upcoming AIDS event in Burlington

MYethiOPIA & Queen City Songs


Sunday, March 21, 7:30 pm

188 North Prospect St


TICKETS $15 at the door

 INFO: 864-0218

MYethiOPIA illuminates the triumphs and tribulations of starting an AIDS Education Circus with a troupe of street kids in Ethiopia. Queen City Songs sing of life-changing events in the blocks bounded by Main St and Ledge Road, circa 1950-60’s.

Schein will be presenting two solo performances: MYethiOPIA: Tales from the AIDS Education Circus, and Queen City Songs, a cycle of five songs set in Burlington that addresses the experience of growing up, and growing up Jewish, in Burlington in the 50’s and 60’s.  

A Burlington native and former member of Ohavi Zedek’s Junior Congregation, this evening of performance closes a geographic as well as personal circle for Schein. He’ll be returning to the very stage where, as the fifth candle from the right in OZ’s annual Hanukah pageant, he first launched himself on a performing and writing career that has taken him throughout Europe, Africa and the US, and now back to the very place where he started.  

MYethiOPIA, written, directed and performed by Schein, is based on his experience forming and directing the Awassa AIDS Education Circus with a troupe of street kids in a town in Southern Ethiopia. When the performers are nearly trampled to death by an over eager crowd, a “condom riot” is narrowly averted. The show probes Schein’s own conflicts bringing ‘culture’ to one of the oldest cultures in the world, and exposes the unavoidable colonial aspects of working in a ‘developing’ country – where the cost of a pair of Schein’s Nikes could pay for three month’s food for a family. 

Directed by its founding members, the Awassa AIDS Education Circus (now called One Love AIDS/HIV Awareness Theater) has performed for hundreds of thousands of people in markets and refugee camps throughout Ethiopia and has been hailed as one of the most exciting and progressive theater companies in East Africa.  

Queen City Songs,” Schein says: “are about growing up in Burlington, as the world spun from radio to television, McCarthy to Kennedy, Colodny’s Market to Gaines Shoppers World, the Hydrogen Bomb to the new High School.  They are about the life-changing events that occurred in the Adams School yard and Clark’s Woods, the kids I grew up with, the stories that stuck.  As always, in writing and performing them, it’s pleasure to come back home.” 

Schein first studied theater and creative writing at BHS with Margaret O’Brien and Gladys Colburn and then at the University of Iowa.  He was a founding member of Berkeley’s noted experimental theater company the Blake Street Hawkeyes and wrote, produced and composed (with Candace Natvig) the award-winning TOKENS: A Play on the Plague, a poly-choral dance piece for 60 performers. He was the original outside eye and contributing writer for Whoopi Goldberg’s first solo, The Spook Show, adapted for Broadway by Mike Nichols. He collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Peña on NPR’s program Border X Frontera, and was the artistic and executive director of Chicago’s Free Street Programs.  

He toured Germany as the director of “Die Ruckehr der Judin” (The Return of the Jewish Woman), and wrote and directed two of his one act plays on contemporary Jewish-American themes: Pagans and Stones, at the Home for Contemporary Theater & Art, NYC. 

A veteran solo performer, winner of the Bay Area Critics Circle Awards and Hollywood Dramalogue Awards, Schein’s article “Incident in Awassa,” about his foundational experience with Ethiopian street theatre, was recently published in the American Theater Reader (2009), a compilation of American Theatre Magazine’s best articles over the last twenty-five years. 

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