Theatrical Outfit’s 38th season will feature work by South African sage Athol Fugard, Doubt playwright John Patrick Shanley and Decatur-bred, San Francisco-based Lauren Gunderson, making her Outfit debut. Executive Artistic Director Tom Key says he chose the 2014-15 lineup to “spotlight signature voices that will spark important conversations about class, education, faith, the stars and our places in the world.”
“It’s nearly impossible to discuss the topics that these plays embrace: religion, politics, gender and money,” Key says. “But when we meet them as human beings in a story, we can naturally and honestly discuss them in a way that is transformative. When I have a lineup like this, then I know this will be a season that matters.”
The season, beginning in August and running through April 2015, looks like this:
THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION. Aug. 21-Sept. 7. By Evan Smith. Two plain-as-potatoes sisters of the Roman Catholic persuasion forget all about Southern charm when a peppy Evangelical Christian comes to their door. “If you’re nice to them, they just keep coming back,” one sister tells the other. “They’re just like cats.” Tess Malis Kincaid directs.
MY CHILDREN! MY AFRICA! Oct. 9-26. Fugard’s three-character thriller features a humane black teacher in segregated South Africa trying to convince a favorite student that education, not violence, is the answer to the nation’s problems. Staged in conjunction with the Africa-Atlanta Project, an initiative that fosters art, business and educational collaborations between Georgia’s capital city and the African continent. Gary Yates directs.
THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI. Dec. 4-21. By Mark St. Germain. Music by Randy Courts. Back for a third season by popular demand. This musical about a penniless husband and wife (Nick Arapoglou, Caroline Freedlund) in turn-of-the-century New York is based on two of O. Henry’s timeless stories.
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY. Dec. 22-23. By Truman Capote. Adapted and performed by Key, an Alabama native who goes back to his acting roots to narrate this semi-autobiographical story of a 7-year-old Alabama boy and his unique friendship with his eccentric, elderly cousin, like “a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.” Last seen on the Outfit stage in 2010
SILENT SKY. Feb. 12-March 1, 2015. Atlanta premiere. By Lauren Gunderson. Gunderson, who just won the Steinberg new play award from the American Theatre Critics Association for her play I and You, imbues this period romance with much more depth than that descriptor often denotes. Astonishing personal and professional discoveries await real-life American astronomer Henrietta Leavitt (1868-1921) as she challenges the male astronomers of Harvard and her era and discovers the stars in galaxies beyond our own. David Crowe directs.
STOREFRONT CHURCH. April 9-26, 2015. By John Patrick Shanley. The final part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s Doubt trilogy (2005’s Doubt: A Parable, 2006’s Defiance). When the mortgage crisis forces a Bronx borough president to confront an unorthodox minister, the question they face is this: What’s the relationship between spiritual experience and social action? “I doubt here’s a better play about the consequences of the economic divide,” says Key. Director TBA.
Theatrical Outfit shows run 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Packages for the 2014-15 season are $80-$150 and available now at 1.877.25.8829 or online here. Details at the box office (678.528.1500). The Gifts of the Magi and A Christmas Memory are not part of the subscription package. Those tickets will be sold separately. Single-show tickets go on sale July 1.
Theatrical Outfit, founded in 1976, is Atlanta’s third-oldest professional theater company. Key became executive artistic director in fall 1995 and led the company through the creation of its award-winning downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, the first U.S. theater to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.