The Hunchback Variations (2016)


Ticket Price

We Suggest $35
More If You Have it
Less if you don't


UH Engineering Lecture Hall
University of Houston Engineering Lecture Hall - D2 (Building 580) 4726 Calhoun Rd. Houston
TX 77204,


Feb 19, 2016 -
Feb 27, 2016
Back by popular demand!
Four nights only!
All tickets Pay-What-You-Can
February 19, 20, 26, & 27, 2016
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm

Cast & Personnel

Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Prop Design
Stage Manager

Original 2015 Production

The Play

In The Hunchback Variations, noted composer Ludwig Van Beethoven and noted hunchback Quasimodo team up to chair a panel on sound design. More specifically they are explaining their fruitless efforts to create the impossible cue that baffling sound effect described at the end of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. The panel follows the pair’s frustrated efforts, complicated by the fact that they are both quite deaf.
Thematically, the play explores the creative impulse and the question of artistic endeavor. Is it a noble thing to continue to try in the face of inevitable failure or is it better to simply remain silent? Maher has become a Houston favorite a result of Catastrophic productions of his plays The Hunchback Variations, The Strangerer, Spirits to Enforce, There Is A Happiness That Morning Is, and the world premiere of The Pine.
Catastrophic first presented The Hunchback Variations to wide acclaim in its 2015 season. The production features Greg Dean as Quasimodo and Jeff Miller as Beethoven and is directed by Greg Dean. Scenery and properties are by Greg Dean, with lighting by Dustin Tannahill, costumes by Macy Lyne, and sound by UH student John Peeples. UH student Chandler Harvey stage manages.

The Playwright

MICKLE MAHER ’s plays have appeared Off-Broadway and around the world, and have been supported by grants from the NEA, the Rockefeller MAP fund, and Creative Capital. They include There is a Happiness That Morning Is; Song About Himself; An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening; The Hunchback Variations; The Strangerer; Spirits to Enforce; Cyrano (translator), The Cabinet; Lady Madeline; The Pine; An Actor Prepares (an adaptation of Stanislavsky’s seminal book); and Small Ball. He is a cofounder of Chicago’s Theater Oobleck, and has taught playwriting and related subjects at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University. His plays are published by Hope and Nonthings.

It Is Magic marks the 11th of Maher’s plays to be produced by Catastrophic, making him the company’s most oft-produced playwright.

Co-Production with The UH School of Theatre & Dance, The UH Honors College Center for Creative Work, and The Blaffer Art Museum

"I can speak for my Colleagues John Harvey, Director of the UH Honors College Center for Creative Work and Jim Rosengren, Deputy Director of the Blaffer Museum, when I say that we are all thrilled to be co-hosting The Catastrophic Theatre’s remount of Mickle Maher’s The Hunchback Variations. I had seen Catastrophic's original production and loved it. It's such a brilliant, quirky concept for a play, and the production itself was both hysterically funny and very moving. And at its heart, it's a play about artistic collaboration—how thrilling and infuriating and downright weird it can be for artists to work together, especially on a very challenging project. Plus, John, Jim, and I all greatly admire The Catastrophic Theatre. They enjoy a national reputation as a leading avant-garde theatre company for good reason. On the UH side of things, we are very happy to be able to host such an exciting project right on campus, where it can be attended by lots of UH students. Catastrophic’s policy of all tickets being pay- what-you-can means that any student who wants to attend the show can do so. And it's actually a brilliant idea to stage The Hunchback Variations in a real university lecture hall since the play is set in a scholarly environment: an academic conference on sound design. Catastrophic’s artistic director Jason Nodler and I were able to look at various lecture halls around campus until we came to one that felt just perfect. Ultimately, I'm very excited about how all four organizations have partnered to present this fascinating show. It's a terrific thing to be able to bring some of the best theatre in the city of Houston right to the UH campus."
- Dr. Rob Shimko, UH Theatre Professor

Photo Sets


“Thanks to playwright Mickle Maher’s terrifically funny for even non-geniuses script, whip cracking tight direction by Greg Dean and two outstandingly funny yet thought-provoking performances, this is a theatrical experience worthy of wide attention.”
— Jessica Goldman, Applause-Meter

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