Unexpected Jewel: New Catalyst Arts Atlanta group attracts theatre lovers

Emily Kleypas and Justin Walker in “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”

In Atlanta’s ever-growing theatre scene, sometimes unexpected jewels show up in unlikely places.

Such an experience occurred this spring at Colony Square at the Midtown Players Club, a hitherto unknown (to me) artists’ haven, gallery, and makeshift intimate theatre.

I saw an astonishing, moving, funny two-character play called “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. The play’s power, beauty, humor, and aching humanity just about did me in. The play only ran for two weekends, and I am hereby starting a campaign to get this work back on the boards. And I want the actors, Emily Kleypas and Justin Walker, of whom I am now a confirmed fan, to play the parts. They were subtle and powerful and kept a childlike innocence. They were sublime, as was the direction by Rebekah Suellau.

The work was produced by a small, creative group of artists called Catalyst Arts Atlanta. Their mission statement: “We are a group of seven Atlanta-based artists who are passionate about creating provocative experiences that both challenge and connect audiences.” The founding members are Joel Coady, Barrett Doyle, Emily Kleypas, Liz Schad, Chelsea Steverson, Bennett Walton and A. Julian Verner.

In late July, Catalyst Arts will begin workshopping a new local play – the name of which was still under wraps at this writing. In the fall they’re going to explore “other artistic mediums.” I know –maddeningly nebulous. But now I’m hooked.

For more information, visit catalystartsatlanta.com.

 

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