More local theatre companies are planning virtual productions for the fall and new year as the arts community continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a look at what four companies have announced for their upcoming 2020-21 seasons:
7 Stages s Home Brew @ Home, a series of complimentary virtual productions and special events based on the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read book, Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt.
First up is “Blood Flow” by Robert Earl Price, directed by Ashley James, on Sept. 24-27. The multimedia artwork reflects the continuous role of art as a force of resistance to crimes against humanity past, present, and future.
On Oct. 8-11, Theresa Davis’ “Then They’ll Tell You It’s All in Your Head,” directed by Dawn Axam, showcases poetry and spoken word from her collection, “Drowned: A Mermaid’s Manifesto” intertwined with movement, sound and score.
Upcoming Home Brew @ Home productions include “TIT”created by Elizabeth Dinkova, Jesse Rasmussen, and the ensemble; the world premiere of “L’Etranger/The Stranger” from the novel by Albert Camus, created by The Object Group led by Michael Haverty; and “True North by Lee Nowell, directed by Heidi S Howard. Visit 7Stages.org for more details.
TO is embracing digital programming with Downtown Dialogues, Made In Atlanta, The Welcome Table, The Unexpected Play Festival, and a return live performances on the main stage in Spring 2021.
Downtown Dialogues will be a four-part series of digital readings each followed by a live video podcast hosted by arts journalist Gail O’Neill.
First will be the Tony Award nominated “The Children” by Lucy Kirkwood on Sept. 24. Directed by Susan Booth, it is a taut environmental thriller about legacy, responsibility, and how to step up in the midst of a crisis. Next up is “FLEX” by Candrice Jones. on Oct. 8 Directed by Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, the work takes a hard look at the lives of an African American girls’ basketball team on and off the court. “Eureka Day” by Jonathan Spector make its Atlanta debut on Oct 22. Directed by January LaVoy, the funny play explores how a parent governed charter school tries to respond to a health crisis. Rounding out the series is the hit “Stew” by Zora Howard on Nov. 12. Directed by Ibi Owolabi, this family drama is set in the kitchen where Mama makes her famous stew and looks at three generations of African American women and the bonds and secrets that they share.
Made In Atlanta, a new play program, will feature “We The Village” by Dana Stringer. This new drama takes a look into the world of Atlanta in the 1990s and how two unlikely souls can form a friendship that stands the test of time. More plays will be announced later in the year as part of the program.
In January, TO will partner with Working Title Playwrights (WTP) for the Unexpected Play Festival. This month-long festival celebrates brand new work by local playwrights, all being heard for the first time. Each digital reading will be immediately followed by a discussion led by WTP Artistic Director Amber Bradshaw in which the audience will offer essential feedback that will help the playwright take the work to the next level. At TO, January will bring a new year, new work, and brand-new conversations that matter.
Then in Spring 2021, TO will return to live theatre with three productions, including “Tiny Beautiful Things, based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos; a partnership with Theatre J in Washington DC on a co-production of “Fires In The Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities” by Anna Deavere Smith; and a third play to be announced. For more, visit theatrialoutfit.org.
The company is launching Virtual Downstage: A Theatrical Online Experience, which will include a new play reading, a weekly monologue series, and a one-woman show.
Artistic Director Freddie Ashley said, “As theatre companies across Atlanta and the nation continue to assess when we can return to live, in-person programming, we wanted to think about different kinds of work that can resonate with our audiences online. We have curated a slate of work that speaks to our current moment in thoughtful and varying ways.”
A reading of “Hometown Boy” by Keiko Green, with direction by Donya K. Washington, will kick off the virtual events on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. The plot revolves around a man who returns to his Southern hometown to check on the erratic behavior of his father and unearths long-buried secrets.
The Monologue Series, which launches weekly beginning Oct. 8, will feature three commissioned monologues from three young Atlanta playwrights. “you are going to do amazing things” by Quinn Xavier Hernandez is about a young who father records a message for the newborn daughter whom he’s given up for adoption and whom he may never know. “Toward Joy” by Amina S. McIntyre is about a woman on the cusp of a restorative journey pondering the need for joy in the world right now. And “Spongebob Spectrum Pineapple People” by Avery Sharpe reflects on what a trip to Mellow Mushroom, drunk-watching “Lovecraft Country,” and a certain sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea have in common.
From Nov. 11-25, “Neat” by Charlayne Woodard, with direction by Eric J. Little, is a one-woman show about personal remembrances that blossom into magical and compelling story of embracing womanhood,
Actor’s Express is also planning a “holiday surprise,” in December, so be sure to visit actors-express.com for all the details.
Out Front Theatre Company
The South’s only LGBTQIA+ theatre has announced three streaming digital performances to be held through the end of the year, including “DIVA: Live from Hell” (Oct. 23-25), “Bright Colors & Bold Patterns” (Nov. 20-22), and “The Santa Closet” (Dec. 11-13).
All three productions will be streamed online via ticket purchase for $15, and the viewing is available for 72 hours from opening night through the weekend. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1.
Starring Trevor Perry and directed by Paul Conroy with Musical Direction by Nick Silvestri, “DIVA: Live From Hell” a jealous actor murders his rival and winds up in squalid cabaret in the Seventh Circle of Hell.
“Bright Colors & Bold Patterns” starring Blake Fountain is about a young couple about a young couple about to be married who find their nuptials interrupted by their friend GerryJosh and a drunken, drug-fueled riot.
In “The Santa Closet,” a little boy’s gender atypical gift request to the North Pole is denied, but a series of heart-felt letters from the child nudge Santa Claus out of the closet, and into the culture wars.
For more information about the forthcoming productions, visit OutFrontTheatre.org.