New plays. New voices. New events.
Theatrical Outfit holds its first Unexpected Play Reading Festival later this month, promising four new (or newish) scripts in two days and top-notch talent. The event adds to a growing pool of new-play development projects already thriving in metro Atlanta. Consider:
- Actor’s Express, which last month held its second Threshold New Play Festival introducing four scripts in two days.
- 7 Stages’ Home Brew series, which introduces four to six new scripts in various stages of development each year (the name comes from the free craft beer given to patrons who see the work at no charge).
- The Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival, which is in the midst of accepting submissions for its second season (deadline Feb. 1).
- The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, which stages its 2017 winner and introduces its finalists in February.
- And Essential Theatre, which is in the midst of planning its 18-year-old two-show summer festival and Bare Essentials readings.
That’s likely not even a complete list.
The Outfit has scheduled the following, although titles, directors and actors are subject to change. Tickets — $10.80 per reading or $37.80 for a four-reading pass — are available HERE or at 678.528.1500.
Just Like Us
2:30 p.m. JAN. 21. What makes someone “American?” This documentary-style play by Karen Zacarías, based on the best-selling nonfiction book by former Denver first lady Helen Thorpe, follows four Latina teenage girls through young adulthood. Two are documented, two are not, and their close friendships begin to unravel as their immigration statuses dictate their opportunities. Aurora Theatre’s Jaclyn Hofmann directs. Her cast features Denise Arribas, Blanca Augero, Luis Hernandez, Wendy Melkonian, Diany Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez-Sager, Julissa Sabino, Laura Lorena Morales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. You might be familiar with Zacarías’ name from The Book Club Play, staged in May 2013 and reprised in 2014 at Horizon Theatre.
Spooky Action at a Distance
7:30 p.m. JAN. 21. It’s 1971 in this drama by Matthew Buckley Smith, and the Vietnam War grinds on. Simon Pirklowski avoids the draft by studying physics at Berkeley, and when he befriends a bartender and agrees to tutor the man’s wife, he’s schooled in just how thrilling uncertainty can be. Spooky Action takes its title from the Einstein-Neils Bohr’s theory of quantum entanglement debate — can two particles be linked in such a way that a change in one would have an instantaneous effect on the other? The Outfit’s Tom Key directs Randi Garza and Adam Fristoe. The Atlanta-born Smith, who lives in Baltimore, is known more as a poet than a playwright. He wrote Spooky Action as the thesis play for his M.F.A. in playwriting at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. It might not be appropriate for children.
2:30 p.m. JAN. 22. Boy, by Anna Ziegler, is inspired by a true story. It travels the tricky terrain of loving oneself and others amid the confusion of sexual identity and an inextricable bond between a doctor and patient. It begins with a decision in the 1960s and moves toward the 1980s, where the repercussions and all-too-human realities of the decision continue to unfold. Georgia Tech’s Melissa Foulger, who directs regularly at Actor’s Express, leads a cast featuring David de Vries, Ann Marie Gideon, Clifton Guterman, Tiffany Morgan and Matthew Myers. Ziegler’s other plays include the award-winning 2010 drama Photograph 51, done in London last year with Nicole Kidman, and The Minotaur, staged in 2012 at Synchronicity Theatre. Might not be appropriate for children.
Nope. That’s Just My First Name: A Nearly One-Woman Show
7:30 p.m. JAN . 22. Born to Egyptian-Muslim parents and raised in Mississippi, one boundless girl can’t find a license-plate key chain with her name on it no matter where she looks. In this theater/TED talk/comedy routine hybrid, Atlanta playwright-actor-director Suehyla El-Attar asks us to consider her true American story — one that might be titled “What’s in a Name?” Topher Payne, probably best known as a playwright, directs. El-Attar’s earlier work includes The Perfect Prayer and Third Country, both at Horizon Theatre, and The Doctor, the Devil & My Dad at 7 Stages.
The Outfit festival includes an artists’ panel and reception (5-7 p.m. Jan. 22). Light food and drinks will be available as will a moderated discussion with the event’s producers, actors, directors and writers. Open (and free) to all patrons with a ticket to any reading.
The panel, reception and readings all take place at the Outfit’s downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW.