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Pittman Painters


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!!“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.” — Martha Graham
Step outside this month, look around, and everywhere you’ll see the natural world erupting with new life and color. Now, want to witness raw human emotions in full bloom as spring floods your senses? Then seek out any of a dozen contemporary dance, movement theatre, and ballet events cascading across stages all over town throughout March.

Arts@Tech will present VIVA MOMIX at the Ferst Center, featuring a collection of acts from the company’s most visually spectacular shows, including Botanica (about the four seasons), Lunar Sea (the moon), and Opus Cactus (the landscape of the American Southwest). MOMIX is a company of dancer/illusionists founded and directed by Moses Pendleton, and their shows are perfect for all ages. I hope you are among the lucky ones to get a full rush of this troupe’s vivid eye candy in dazzling motion.

$15-$25, 7 p.m., Sun., March 1. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

The most eclectic mix of Atlanta-based dance talent on display this month takes over The Windmill stage in East Point March 5–8. Excuse The Art (ETA) highlights works-in-progress by the Windmill’s Artists-in-Residence and selected artists from the metro area. ETA was created by the members of Fly on a Wall and Windmill Arts Center owner Sam Ross. For the past several weeks, all the artists have been developing their own pieces at The Windmill with input from each other — dancers and movement artists sharing feedback with actors, actors offering drama-turgy tips to dancers, etc.


The four day dance series includes new works by AMT, Walter Apps, Shakira Bell/Blurred Lines Dance Company, LaMia Dingle/Reveal Movement, Nathan Griswold, Porter Grubbs and The Mediums Collective, ImmerseATL, Nicole Johnson and Jimmy Joyner, Jacob Lavoie, Asha Lu, Gianna Mercandetti, Clara Ofotokun, Olivia Rowe, Jordan Slaton, Ben Stevenson, and The Windmill’s resident theater company, Vernal & Sere. The 15 performances fill two programs that will be presented twice: Program A on Thursday and Saturday, March 5 and 7; and Program B on Friday and Sunday, March 6 and 8. The smart move is buying a $25 series ticket that gets you into both programs, plus a free cocktail each night.

$15 per Program A or B; $25 for 2 Programs. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 5–Sat., March 7; 4:30 p.m., Sun., March 8. The Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. 470-588-6244. Click here for tickets.

It may take some serious time management during the first weekend in March, but if you can make it to Kennesaw State University’s Marietta campus Friday March 6 or Saturday March 7, you can experience Modern Myths, a captivating program of neo-classical ballet inspired by Greek mythology. This double bill includes two works by founding members and resident choreographers of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre — Under the Olive Tree by Tara Lee and Heath Gill’s Horizons. Tara Lee’s work explores the divine/human duality and the seriously flawed psyches of several Greek gods and goddesses. Lee’s fluid choreography both celebrates and opposes classical dance, ranging from stark solos to sensual pas de deux and a frenzied Dionysian scene featuring a dozen delirious dancers. The tale of Icarus’ fiery fall from the heavens inspired Gill to create Horizons. Terminus performances tend to sell out, so plan ahead.

$48.49 (premium), $32.33 (standard), and $16.16 (student). 8 p.m., Fri., March 6; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., March 7. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information. 

Or you might consider returning to Cobb County the following Saturday, March 14, to explore The Space in Between, a performance by visiting dance company Ballet 5:8. The program features a trio of ballet works choreographed by Julianna Rubio Slager and based on novels and essays of Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Inspired by Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce, The Space in Between takes place in a town where the rain falls continuously and a man stands at a bus stop, on the brink of heaven and hell. According to Slager, “The work explores the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.” Also on the program, Meditations, based on the essay Meditations in a Toolshed, and Of Splendors and Horrors, inspired by a collection of Lewis’ essays and addresses, The Weight of Glory.

$15-$25. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., March 14. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information.

In the mood for something lighter, more of a performance sampler? Then take a whiff of Night Air, a potpourri of short and durational performances appearing in and around the historic Callanwolde mansion on Friday, March 13.  Atlanta artists include members of dance companies Prime Movers, Kit Modus, and Fly on a Wall, dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor, aerialist Beth Del Nero, and immersive performance art by members of Mediums Collective.

$15. 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 13. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road N.E. 404-872-5338. Click here for more information.

On almost any weekend, some of the most interesting live performances are taking place in theaters and on stages at area universities. That’s certainly true during the third weekend in March, with three different dance events happening simultaneously at Agnes Scott College, Emory University, and Georgia Tech on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, following the spring equinox.

On that Friday and Saturday night, Decatur-based Core Dance presents two (free) performances of “Manifolds” in the courtyard of the Dana Fine Arts Building at Agnes Scott. According to choreographer Rose Shields, “The work examines how the indi-vidual and the community connect with the concepts of architecture and dimension, the physical versus the abstract, and the struggle and growth that is life.” Shields created “Manifolds” in collaboration with visual artist Julia Hill and Core Dance artists. “I’m really interested in how reality appears and changes from person to person according to their unique perspectives,” says Shields. “By distorting reality in ‘Manifolds,’ I hope to spark in people the desire to be ever curious and to not be afraid to learn something new or old.”

Free. 7 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Dana Fine Arts Building Court-yard, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-373-4154. Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, over at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory, graduate student Maria McNiece investigates themes of existentialism and religious allegory in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. As part of her interdisciplinary research project involving dance, English, and theater scholarship, she will perform her own dance work that, in her words, “embodies questions regarding human agency.”   Hmmm. There’s a lot to ponder there. With apologies to Becket’s ever-patient Estragon, perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards.


Among the real highlights of every spring dance season is Dance Canvas, which re-turns to the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech March 20 and 21. Each year, Dance Canvas selects up to 10 choreographers from across the U.S. to create and present work through the Choreographer Career Development Initiative. Working with partners C4 Atlanta and Kennesaw State University, the choreographers also participate in workshops dealing with business development, lighting design, marketing, costuming, and public speaking. Dance Canvas 2020 will include new works by these emerging choreographers: Lindsay Renea Benton, Kaila Carter, TereLyn Jones, Elena Notkina, Catherine Messina, Austyn Rich, Peter Swan, Mary Beth Stinson, and Vanessa Zabari. More than 40 professional ballet, contemporary, and tap dancers will perform during the two-night event.

$30. 8 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

And then there’s “enra.” A Japanese performing arts collective, enra combines contemporary dance, juggling, and martial arts. Their global touring production Dreams lands at the Ferst Center the following weekend, on Friday, March 27. Here’s how they describe their show: “Brilliant, animated computer graphics synchronize with the performers’ movements in a series of magical vignettes that transport you from the sweet beauty of a starry night to the explosive energy of a galaxy in formation, and from a world of abstract whimsy to a modern, gritty cityscape.” Sounds like hypnotic fun. I’m in.

$10-$25. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

::::
I don’t know if March is coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb, but I do know this whirlwind month of dance will finish with a performance of Giselle. The Atlanta Ballet will present one of the all-time classic masterworks at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center March 27 through 29. How’s this for a romantic fever dream? After a young peasant girl named Giselle is deceived by her lover Albrecht, she dies of a broken heart. But then she rises from the grave along with the supernatural “Wilis,” the ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers who trap any men they can seduce. The vengeful demons entice and capture Albrecht and force him to dance until he dies, but the power of Giselle’s love protects him and ultimately sets them both free. If you’re ever going to experience a full-on, over-the-top classic ballet, Giselle is a great one to submit to.

$20-$140. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27 and Sat., March 28; 2 p.m., Sat., March 28 and Sun., March 29. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy. 404-892-3303. Click here for more information.

If a month full of classic and contemporary performances doesn’t satisfy your insatiable curiosity about every kind of dance, then help yourself to an extra goth portion of “Butoh and Nature: Dance as Ecological Methodology.” “Butoh,” often translated as “dance of darkness,” rose out of the ashes of post-World War II Japan as an extreme avant-garde dance form that shocked audiences with its grotesque movements and graphic sexual allusions. The Friends of Emory Dance present a free lecture by Dr. Rosemary Candelario of Texas Woman’s University on Tuesday, March 31, in the dance studio at the Schwartz Center at Emory. A teacher and choreographer, Dr. Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with butoh, ecology, and site-specific performance. Her lecture will focus on the various ways butoh dancers make connections between their dance and their local landscapes. 

Finally, go ahead now and mark your April calendars for the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert for Thursday through Saturday, April 16 through 18, also at the Schwartz Center. The program includes six contemporary dance works created by some of the very best student choreographers in the region.

$10. 7:30 p.m., Thurs., April 16–Sat., April 18; 2 p.m., Sat., April 18. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Dance Studio, Emory University,1700 North Decatur Road. 404-727-5050. Click here for more information.

For me, dance is the purest of all art forms. And spring is a perfect time to give in to its mysteries. Don’t worry about what any of it means. Just let go and let the movements and sounds wash over you and see how you feel."
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!!''“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.”'' — Martha Graham
Step outside this month, look around, and everywhere you’ll see the natural world erupting with new life and color. Now, want to witness raw human emotions in full bloom as spring floods your senses? Then seek out any of a dozen contemporary dance, movement theatre, and ballet events cascading across stages all over town throughout March.

Arts@Tech will present VIVA MOMIX at the Ferst Center, featuring a collection of acts from the company’s most visually spectacular shows, including ''Botanica'' (about the four seasons), ''Lunar Sea'' (the moon), and ''Opus Cactus'' (the landscape of the American Southwest). MOMIX is a company of dancer/illusionists founded and directed by Moses Pendleton, and their shows are perfect for all ages. I hope you are among the lucky ones to get a full rush of this troupe’s vivid eye candy in dazzling motion.

''$15-$25, 7 p.m., Sun., March 1. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. [https://arts.gatech.edu/content/vivamomix|Click here for more information].''

The most eclectic mix of Atlanta-based dance talent on display this month takes over The Windmill stage in East Point March 5–8. ''Excuse The Art'' (''ETA'') highlights works-in-progress by the Windmill’s Artists-in-Residence and selected artists from the metro area. ''ETA'' was created by the members of Fly on a Wall and Windmill Arts Center owner Sam Ross. For the past several weeks, all the artists have been developing their own pieces at The Windmill with input from each other — dancers and movement artists sharing feedback with actors, actors offering drama-turgy tips to dancers, etc.

{img fileId="29590" stylebox="float: left; margin-right:25px;" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="400px"}
The four day dance series includes new works by AMT, Walter Apps, Shakira Bell/Blurred Lines Dance Company, LaMia Dingle/Reveal Movement, Nathan Griswold, Porter Grubbs and The Mediums Collective, ImmerseATL, Nicole Johnson and Jimmy Joyner, Jacob Lavoie, Asha Lu, Gianna Mercandetti, Clara Ofotokun, Olivia Rowe, Jordan Slaton, Ben Stevenson, and The Windmill’s resident theater company, Vernal & Sere. The 15 performances fill two programs that will be presented twice: Program A on Thursday and Saturday, March 5 and 7; and Program B on Friday and Sunday, March 6 and 8. The smart move is buying a $25 series ticket that gets you into both programs, plus a free cocktail each night.

''$15 per Program A or B; $25 for 2 Programs. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 5–Sat., March 7; 4:30 p.m., Sun., March 8. The Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. 470-588-6244. [http://www.flyonawall.buzz/excuse-the-art-tickets|Click here for tickets].''

It may take some serious time management during the first weekend in March, but if you can make it to Kennesaw State University’s Marietta campus Friday March 6 or Saturday March 7, you can experience ''Modern Myths'', a captivating program of neo-classical ballet inspired by Greek mythology. This double bill includes two works by founding members and resident choreographers of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre — ''Under the Olive Tree'' by Tara Lee and Heath Gill’s ''Horizons''. Tara Lee’s work explores the divine/human duality and the seriously flawed psyches of several Greek gods and goddesses. Lee’s fluid choreography both celebrates and opposes classical dance, ranging from stark solos to sensual pas de deux and a frenzied Dionysian scene featuring a dozen delirious dancers. The tale of Icarus’ fiery fall from the heavens inspired Gill to create ''Horizons''. Terminus performances tend to sell out, so plan ahead.

''$48.49 (premium), $32.33 (standard), and $16.16 (student). 8 p.m., Fri., March 6; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., March 7. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. [https://www.terminus-serenbe.com/events/modernmyths|Click here for more information].'' 

Or you might consider returning to Cobb County the following Saturday, March 14, to explore ''The Space in Between'', a performance by visiting dance company Ballet 5:8. The program features a trio of ballet works choreographed by Julianna Rubio Slager and based on novels and essays of Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Inspired by Lewis’ novel ''The Great Divorce'', ''The Space in Between'' takes place in a town where the rain falls continuously and a man stands at a bus stop, on the brink of heaven and hell. According to Slager, “The work explores the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.” Also on the program, ''Meditations'', based on the essay ''Meditations in a Toolshed'', and ''Of Splendors and Horrors'', inspired by a collection of Lewis’ essays and addresses, ''The Weight of Glory''.

''$15-$25. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., March 14. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. [https://www.facebook.com/events/676915862735507/|Click here for more information].''

In the mood for something lighter, more of a performance sampler? Then take a whiff of ''Night Air'', a potpourri of short and durational performances appearing in and around the historic Callanwolde mansion on Friday, March 13.  Atlanta artists include members of dance companies Prime Movers, Kit Modus, and Fly on a Wall, dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor, aerialist Beth Del Nero, and immersive performance art by members of Mediums Collective.

''$15. 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 13. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road N.E. 404-872-5338. [https://www.facebook.com/events/182856252943972/|Click here for more information].''

On almost any weekend, some of the most interesting live performances are taking place in theaters and on stages at area universities. That’s certainly true during the third weekend in March, with three different dance events happening simultaneously at Agnes Scott College, Emory University, and Georgia Tech on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, following the spring equinox.

On that Friday and Saturday night, Decatur-based Core Dance presents two (free) performances of “Manifolds” in the courtyard of the Dana Fine Arts Building at Agnes Scott. According to choreographer Rose Shields, “The work examines how the indi-vidual and the community connect with the concepts of architecture and dimension, the physical versus the abstract, and the struggle and growth that is life.” Shields created “Manifolds” in collaboration with visual artist Julia Hill and Core Dance artists. “I’m really interested in how reality appears and changes from person to person according to their unique perspectives,” says Shields. “By distorting reality in ‘Manifolds,’ I hope to spark in people the desire to be ever curious and to not be afraid to learn something new or old.”

''Free. 7 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Dana Fine Arts Building Court-yard, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-373-4154. [https://www.facebook.com/events/2609089269144799/|Click here for more information].''

Meanwhile, over at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory, graduate student Maria McNiece investigates themes of existentialism and religious allegory in Samuel Beckett’s ''Waiting For Godot''. As part of her interdisciplinary research project involving dance, English, and theater scholarship, she will perform her own dance work that, in her words, “embodies questions regarding human agency.”   Hmmm. There’s a lot to ponder there. With apologies to Becket’s ever-patient Estragon, perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards.

{img fileId="29591" stylebox="float: right; margin-left:25px;" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="600px"}
Among the real highlights of every spring dance season is Dance Canvas, which re-turns to the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech March 20 and 21. Each year, Dance Canvas selects up to 10 choreographers from across the U.S. to create and present work through the Choreographer Career Development Initiative. Working with partners C4 Atlanta and Kennesaw State University, the choreographers also participate in workshops dealing with business development, lighting design, marketing, costuming, and public speaking. Dance Canvas 2020 will include new works by these emerging choreographers: Lindsay Renea Benton, Kaila Carter, TereLyn Jones, Elena Notkina, Catherine Messina, Austyn Rich, Peter Swan, Mary Beth Stinson, and Vanessa Zabari. More than 40 professional ballet, contemporary, and tap dancers will perform during the two-night event.

''$30. 8 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. [https://www.dancecanvas.com/|Click here for more information].''

And then there’s “enra.” A Japanese performing arts collective, enra combines contemporary dance, juggling, and martial arts. Their global touring production ''Dreams'' lands at the Ferst Center the following weekend, on Friday, March 27. Here’s how they describe their show: “Brilliant, animated computer graphics synchronize with the performers’ movements in a series of magical vignettes that transport you from the sweet beauty of a starry night to the explosive energy of a galaxy in formation, and from a world of abstract whimsy to a modern, gritty cityscape.” Sounds like hypnotic fun. I’m in.

''$10-$25. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. [https://arts.gatech.edu/content/enra-dreams|Click here for more information].''

::{img fileId="29592" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="800px"}::
I don’t know if March is coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb, but I do know this whirlwind month of dance will finish with a performance of ''Giselle''. The Atlanta Ballet will present one of the all-time classic masterworks at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center March 27 through 29. How’s this for a romantic fever dream? After a young peasant girl named Giselle is deceived by her lover Albrecht, she dies of a broken heart. But then she rises from the grave along with the supernatural “Wilis,” the ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers who trap any men they can seduce. The vengeful demons entice and capture Albrecht and force him to dance until he dies, but the power of Giselle’s love protects him and ultimately sets them both free. If you’re ever going to experience a full-on, over-the-top classic ballet, ''Giselle'' is a great one to submit to.

''$20-$140. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27 and Sat., March 28; 2 p.m., Sat., March 28 and Sun., March 29. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy. 404-892-3303. [https://www.atlantaballet.com/performances/giselle|Click here for more information].''

If a month full of classic and contemporary performances doesn’t satisfy your insatiable curiosity about every kind of dance, then help yourself to an extra goth portion of “Butoh and Nature: Dance as Ecological Methodology.” “Butoh,” often translated as “dance of darkness,” rose out of the ashes of post-World War II Japan as an extreme avant-garde dance form that shocked audiences with its grotesque movements and graphic sexual allusions. The Friends of Emory Dance present a free lecture by Dr. Rosemary Candelario of Texas Woman’s University on Tuesday, March 31, in the dance studio at the Schwartz Center at Emory. A teacher and choreographer, Dr. Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with butoh, ecology, and site-specific performance. Her lecture will focus on the various ways butoh dancers make connections between their dance and their local landscapes. 

Finally, go ahead now and mark your April calendars for the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert for Thursday through Saturday, April 16 through 18, also at the Schwartz Center. The program includes six contemporary dance works created by some of the very best student choreographers in the region.

''$10. 7:30 p.m., Thurs., April 16–Sat., April 18; 2 p.m., Sat., April 18. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Dance Studio, Emory University,1700 North Decatur Road. 404-727-5050. [http://dance.emory.edu/events/|Click here for more information].''

For me, dance is the purest of all art forms. And spring is a perfect time to give in to its mysteries. Don’t worry about what any of it means. Just let go and let the movements and sounds wash over you and see how you feel."
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  string(12376) " S&M #2 Modern Myths Web  2020-03-02T18:50:15+00:00 S&M_#2_Modern_Myths_web.jpg    scenes&motions Give in to the mysteries 29588  2020-03-02T18:32:49+00:00 SCENES & MOTIONS: Dance performances spring eternal jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Eward McNally Edward McNally 2020-03-02T18:32:49+00:00  As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.
!!“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.” — Martha Graham
Step outside this month, look around, and everywhere you’ll see the natural world erupting with new life and color. Now, want to witness raw human emotions in full bloom as spring floods your senses? Then seek out any of a dozen contemporary dance, movement theatre, and ballet events cascading across stages all over town throughout March.

Arts@Tech will present VIVA MOMIX at the Ferst Center, featuring a collection of acts from the company’s most visually spectacular shows, including Botanica (about the four seasons), Lunar Sea (the moon), and Opus Cactus (the landscape of the American Southwest). MOMIX is a company of dancer/illusionists founded and directed by Moses Pendleton, and their shows are perfect for all ages. I hope you are among the lucky ones to get a full rush of this troupe’s vivid eye candy in dazzling motion.

$15-$25, 7 p.m., Sun., March 1. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

The most eclectic mix of Atlanta-based dance talent on display this month takes over The Windmill stage in East Point March 5–8. Excuse The Art (ETA) highlights works-in-progress by the Windmill’s Artists-in-Residence and selected artists from the metro area. ETA was created by the members of Fly on a Wall and Windmill Arts Center owner Sam Ross. For the past several weeks, all the artists have been developing their own pieces at The Windmill with input from each other — dancers and movement artists sharing feedback with actors, actors offering drama-turgy tips to dancers, etc.


The four day dance series includes new works by AMT, Walter Apps, Shakira Bell/Blurred Lines Dance Company, LaMia Dingle/Reveal Movement, Nathan Griswold, Porter Grubbs and The Mediums Collective, ImmerseATL, Nicole Johnson and Jimmy Joyner, Jacob Lavoie, Asha Lu, Gianna Mercandetti, Clara Ofotokun, Olivia Rowe, Jordan Slaton, Ben Stevenson, and The Windmill’s resident theater company, Vernal & Sere. The 15 performances fill two programs that will be presented twice: Program A on Thursday and Saturday, March 5 and 7; and Program B on Friday and Sunday, March 6 and 8. The smart move is buying a $25 series ticket that gets you into both programs, plus a free cocktail each night.

$15 per Program A or B; $25 for 2 Programs. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 5–Sat., March 7; 4:30 p.m., Sun., March 8. The Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. 470-588-6244. Click here for tickets.

It may take some serious time management during the first weekend in March, but if you can make it to Kennesaw State University’s Marietta campus Friday March 6 or Saturday March 7, you can experience Modern Myths, a captivating program of neo-classical ballet inspired by Greek mythology. This double bill includes two works by founding members and resident choreographers of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre — Under the Olive Tree by Tara Lee and Heath Gill’s Horizons. Tara Lee’s work explores the divine/human duality and the seriously flawed psyches of several Greek gods and goddesses. Lee’s fluid choreography both celebrates and opposes classical dance, ranging from stark solos to sensual pas de deux and a frenzied Dionysian scene featuring a dozen delirious dancers. The tale of Icarus’ fiery fall from the heavens inspired Gill to create Horizons. Terminus performances tend to sell out, so plan ahead.

$48.49 (premium), $32.33 (standard), and $16.16 (student). 8 p.m., Fri., March 6; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., March 7. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information. 

Or you might consider returning to Cobb County the following Saturday, March 14, to explore The Space in Between, a performance by visiting dance company Ballet 5:8. The program features a trio of ballet works choreographed by Julianna Rubio Slager and based on novels and essays of Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Inspired by Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce, The Space in Between takes place in a town where the rain falls continuously and a man stands at a bus stop, on the brink of heaven and hell. According to Slager, “The work explores the nature of eternity and the joy found on its shores.” Also on the program, Meditations, based on the essay Meditations in a Toolshed, and Of Splendors and Horrors, inspired by a collection of Lewis’ essays and addresses, The Weight of Glory.

$15-$25. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., March 14. Kennesaw State University Dance Theater, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy. S.E., Marietta. 470-733-8274. Click here for more information.

In the mood for something lighter, more of a performance sampler? Then take a whiff of Night Air, a potpourri of short and durational performances appearing in and around the historic Callanwolde mansion on Friday, March 13.  Atlanta artists include members of dance companies Prime Movers, Kit Modus, and Fly on a Wall, dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor, aerialist Beth Del Nero, and immersive performance art by members of Mediums Collective.

$15. 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 13. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, 980 Briarcliff Road N.E. 404-872-5338. Click here for more information.

On almost any weekend, some of the most interesting live performances are taking place in theaters and on stages at area universities. That’s certainly true during the third weekend in March, with three different dance events happening simultaneously at Agnes Scott College, Emory University, and Georgia Tech on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, following the spring equinox.

On that Friday and Saturday night, Decatur-based Core Dance presents two (free) performances of “Manifolds” in the courtyard of the Dana Fine Arts Building at Agnes Scott. According to choreographer Rose Shields, “The work examines how the indi-vidual and the community connect with the concepts of architecture and dimension, the physical versus the abstract, and the struggle and growth that is life.” Shields created “Manifolds” in collaboration with visual artist Julia Hill and Core Dance artists. “I’m really interested in how reality appears and changes from person to person according to their unique perspectives,” says Shields. “By distorting reality in ‘Manifolds,’ I hope to spark in people the desire to be ever curious and to not be afraid to learn something new or old.”

Free. 7 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Dana Fine Arts Building Court-yard, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-373-4154. Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, over at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory, graduate student Maria McNiece investigates themes of existentialism and religious allegory in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. As part of her interdisciplinary research project involving dance, English, and theater scholarship, she will perform her own dance work that, in her words, “embodies questions regarding human agency.”   Hmmm. There’s a lot to ponder there. With apologies to Becket’s ever-patient Estragon, perhaps she could dance first and think afterwards.


Among the real highlights of every spring dance season is Dance Canvas, which re-turns to the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech March 20 and 21. Each year, Dance Canvas selects up to 10 choreographers from across the U.S. to create and present work through the Choreographer Career Development Initiative. Working with partners C4 Atlanta and Kennesaw State University, the choreographers also participate in workshops dealing with business development, lighting design, marketing, costuming, and public speaking. Dance Canvas 2020 will include new works by these emerging choreographers: Lindsay Renea Benton, Kaila Carter, TereLyn Jones, Elena Notkina, Catherine Messina, Austyn Rich, Peter Swan, Mary Beth Stinson, and Vanessa Zabari. More than 40 professional ballet, contemporary, and tap dancers will perform during the two-night event.

$30. 8 p.m., Fri., March 20 and Sat., March 21. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

And then there’s “enra.” A Japanese performing arts collective, enra combines contemporary dance, juggling, and martial arts. Their global touring production Dreams lands at the Ferst Center the following weekend, on Friday, March 27. Here’s how they describe their show: “Brilliant, animated computer graphics synchronize with the performers’ movements in a series of magical vignettes that transport you from the sweet beauty of a starry night to the explosive energy of a galaxy in formation, and from a world of abstract whimsy to a modern, gritty cityscape.” Sounds like hypnotic fun. I’m in.

$10-$25. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-2787. Click here for more information.

::::
I don’t know if March is coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb, but I do know this whirlwind month of dance will finish with a performance of Giselle. The Atlanta Ballet will present one of the all-time classic masterworks at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center March 27 through 29. How’s this for a romantic fever dream? After a young peasant girl named Giselle is deceived by her lover Albrecht, she dies of a broken heart. But then she rises from the grave along with the supernatural “Wilis,” the ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers who trap any men they can seduce. The vengeful demons entice and capture Albrecht and force him to dance until he dies, but the power of Giselle’s love protects him and ultimately sets them both free. If you’re ever going to experience a full-on, over-the-top classic ballet, Giselle is a great one to submit to.

$20-$140. 8 p.m., Fri., March 27 and Sat., March 28; 2 p.m., Sat., March 28 and Sun., March 29. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy. 404-892-3303. Click here for more information.

If a month full of classic and contemporary performances doesn’t satisfy your insatiable curiosity about every kind of dance, then help yourself to an extra goth portion of “Butoh and Nature: Dance as Ecological Methodology.” “Butoh,” often translated as “dance of darkness,” rose out of the ashes of post-World War II Japan as an extreme avant-garde dance form that shocked audiences with its grotesque movements and graphic sexual allusions. The Friends of Emory Dance present a free lecture by Dr. Rosemary Candelario of Texas Woman’s University on Tuesday, March 31, in the dance studio at the Schwartz Center at Emory. A teacher and choreographer, Dr. Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with butoh, ecology, and site-specific performance. Her lecture will focus on the various ways butoh dancers make connections between their dance and their local landscapes. 

Finally, go ahead now and mark your April calendars for the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert for Thursday through Saturday, April 16 through 18, also at the Schwartz Center. The program includes six contemporary dance works created by some of the very best student choreographers in the region.

$10. 7:30 p.m., Thurs., April 16–Sat., April 18; 2 p.m., Sat., April 18. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Dance Studio, Emory University,1700 North Decatur Road. 404-727-5050. Click here for more information.

For me, dance is the purest of all art forms. And spring is a perfect time to give in to its mysteries. Don’t worry about what any of it means. Just let go and let the movements and sounds wash over you and see how you feel.    Terminus MODERN MYTHS: Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre.  0,0,10    scenes&motions                             SCENES & MOTIONS: Dance performances spring eternal "
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Monday March 2, 2020 01:32 pm EST
Give in to the mysteries | more...
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  string(13075) "Why should I step outside of my warm home where I am often tantalized with endless streaming of Amazon Prime and Netflix and CBS All Access ... and make my way to a live stage production on a chilly winter night? An experience that can pull me away from hearth and home is a performance that surprises me, upsets me, or makes me feel something, suddenly and deeply. 

That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

Maybe Happy Ending

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

Fun Home

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

Tribes

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

Wooden Nickels

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

Stellaluna

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. — CL —"
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That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

__Maybe Happy Ending__

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

__This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity__

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

__Fun Home__

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

__Tribes__

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

__Wooden Nickels__

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

__Stellaluna__

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. __— CL —__"
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  string(13580) " S&M MHE2 2  2020-02-04T18:57:05+00:00 S&M_MHE2_2.jpg    scenes&motions These plays may reflect our all-too-human longings 28512  2020-02-04T18:51:10+00:00 SCENES & MOTIONS: Not me. Us: six chances to connect will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell EDWARD MCNALLY  2020-02-04T18:51:10+00:00  Why should I step outside of my warm home where I am often tantalized with endless streaming of Amazon Prime and Netflix and CBS All Access ... and make my way to a live stage production on a chilly winter night? An experience that can pull me away from hearth and home is a performance that surprises me, upsets me, or makes me feel something, suddenly and deeply. 

That usually means art that puts me intimately in touch with someone else’s reality. I have yet to see the six productions described below, but from what I have read about them I believe they each share the same dramatic DNA. They offer the promise of a powerful or playful hour or two experiencing what it is to be alive and aware while sitting still in a room filled with strangers.

Maybe Happy Ending

Maybe Happy Ending is a sci-fi musical now playing at the Alliance Theatre through February 16. Set in Seoul, Korea, 50 years in the future, it is a tragicomic love story about two robotic servants known as “helperbots” living in an apartment building for obsolete models. Before they meet and fall in a certain type of “love,” Claire and Oliver are living alone and isolated like “hikikomori,” the Japanese cultural phenomenon in which people never leave their rooms for years at a time. 

The English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending in Atlanta is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening). ”Humanity has been around for a while and grown cynical,” says Arden. “Compared to humans, Claire and Oliver are innocent and trusting. They have a pure way of connecting to each other and to the larger world they discover together.” 

Composer Will Aronson and lyricist Hue Park shared their owns observation in their author’s note for the play. “It’s easy to imagine a future when people start to become indistinguishable from their electronic gadgets. But underneath this, all the old human longings and fears and dreams are still there, unchanged …. Once you take that risk and go out into the world, you have the possibility of experiencing something beautiful. But you don’t have any kind of guaranteed happy ending out of it. It’s all a question mark.” 

If the romantic sci-fi premise of Maybe Happy Ending isn’t a compelling enough emotional tractor beam to pull you in, this Alliance production is also full of stellar Broadway talent. This includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey (Once on This Island), costume design by Clint Ramos (The Rose Tattoo, Eclipsed), lighting design by Travis Hagenbuch, projections design by Sven Ortel (Newsies the Musical), and sound design by Peter Hylenski (Beetlejuice, Once on This Island). 

Originally written in Korean, Maybe Happy Ending premiered in Seoul in 2016 to smash success, winning six Korean Music Awards. Like so many other popular Alliance musical premieres, (Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On, The Prom, etc.), it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where Maybe Happy Ending ends up on Broadway and earns its own accolades.

$10-$85. Through Feb. 16. Alliance Theatre. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-4650. https://alliancetheatre.org/production/2019-20/maybe-happy-ending

This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity

“… the cascading series of coincidences neatly illustrates the idea that, as the title suggests, we are all hostages to chance.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

Since 1981, American playwright Steven Dietz has had over 50 of his plays and adaptations produced across the US and around the world; indeed, over the past 10 years, no living playwright has had as many of their plays produced on American stages. Out of Box Theatre is the first ATL ensemble to present Dietz’s This Random World: The Myth of Serendipity since it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville four years ago. More than one publication has described the play by saying it “asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.”

Dietz’s wistful comedy of missed connections reveals brief emotional moments in the lives of an aging mother, her grown son and daughter, and four other people all just one degree of separation away. Their stories intersect so closely that audiences are convinced they’ll all collide or converge sooner or later. But they … .

Dietz doesn’t go for the easy, expected dramatic payoff. In This Random World, serendipity is less about coincidental encounters down the street or at the other end of the world, and more about missing someone by a just few moments. None of Dietz’ characters will ever know what they’ve missed. But we will. And perhaps leave the theatre poignantly wondering, “if only…”

$22. Feb. 14-23. Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Pkwy. S, Suite C-1, Marietta. 678-653-4605. http://www.outofboxtheatre.com/randomworld

Fun Home

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, Actor’s Express has had 13 seasons of popular success mounting bold productions of major musicals and critically acclaimed dramas. This track record is reason enough to buy a ticket to anything they do at their cozy quarters in the King Plow complex on the Westside. But by any theatrical standard, Fun Home is something special: a wholly original 90-minute musical about what happens when you finally see your parents through grown-up eyes.

The loyal fanbase for Alison Bechdel’s long-running Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip adored Fun Home as a graphic novel when it was published to rave reviews in 2006. By 2013, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori had adapted the book into a musical premiering Off Broadway at the Public Theater. Fun Home became a critical sensation once again, not only named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, but also a finalist for that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama. After several reruns by popular demand, Fun Home moved to Broadway in 2015, where it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book for a Musical. The following year, the live cast recording won a Grammy award.

The TV ads for the first national tour screamed, “Welcome to a musical about a family that’s nothing like yours — and exactly like yours.” Okay. So, I wonder, how many of you can relate to this author’s wonder years? Alison’s autobiographical tale, which traces the childhood events that led to her becoming a graphic novelist, allows her to reflect upon herself at various points in the past — three ages, played by three actresses. The oldest version often shares the stage with one of the younger versions and looks sweetly or critically at herself at various points in her past. 

As Small Allison, she remembers her funeral director/home remodeler/high school teacher dad as spirited, eccentric, preoccupied, and demanding. She romps around the “fun home,” the family’s nickname for the funeral parlor, hiding in the coffins with her two brothers. She doesn’t realize her father is also a closeted, very repressed homosexual having secret affairs. Later, Medium Allison, the college freshman, finds the courage to come out as a lesbian, first to a female classmate she loves and later to her parents. Finally, looking back on her father’s struggles from the vantage point of middle age, she comes to believe that his untimely death must have been suicide.

I said I haven’t seen these productions. However, I did see the Broadway production of Fun Home with the original cast. I can tell you that the script is one of the best I’ve heard in a musical. Very smart and achingly honest. Incisive, wry, compelling, and yet, at certain moments, laugh-out-loud funny. But the music and the songs are what really make this piece of theater so moving and emotionally powerful. The music and lyrics are woven as effortlessly as the best works of Stephen Sondheim, and I can tell you from memory that the sounds of Fun Home seamlessly shift from giddy to gorgeous, melancholy to zany, angry to haunting, and, ultimately, to heartbreaking and luminous. 

Even if Actor’s Express does half as good a job as the Broadway cast, this Fun Home promises to be one of the highlights of the theater season.

$20-$40. Showtimes vary. Through Feb. 16. Actor’s Express, 87 West Marietta S.t N.W. Suite J-107. 404-607-7469. https://www.actors-express.com/plays/fun-home

Tribes

British playwright Nina Raine explained in a 2010 interview that the idea of writing Tribes came to her after she saw a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child and were hoping it would be born deaf. It occurred to Raine that this family was essentially a tribe whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs, and language to their children. Each tribe has its own rituals, hierarchies and ways of communicating that are often hard for “outsiders” to understand. She began to see that there were tribes everywhere, including individual families, religious communities, and groups like the (self-defined) deaf community. 

Raine’s play focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class British Jewish family with three grown children, all living at home. One of the two sons, Billy, born deaf, was raised to read lips and to speak but was never taught sign language. Billy’s family, like every other, behaves like a club with its own private language, jokes, and rules. In this Jewish household, arguments, no matter how heated, are considered an expression of love. 

But then Billy meets Sylvia, a hearing woman born to deaf parents who is now slowly going deaf herself. She hates that she’s losing her hearing and begins teaching Billy sign language. After learning about the values of the deaf community, Billy confronts his own family’s beliefs and values. Finally, it is the deaf family member who demands to be heard.

DramaTech, Georgia Tech’s student-run theatre organization, has been around for 73 years. Tribes is an award-winning script, and many productions feature a deaf actor in the role of Billy. This might well be a student production worth seeking out.

$8-$15. 8 p.m. February 7–15, DramaTech Theatre, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-3481. https://dramatech.org/events/

Wooden Nickels

In this new one-act play at Theatre Emory directed by Atlanta theatre legend Tim McDonough, two brothers from a Jewish family in Lubbock, Texas, tell the story of their father and his eccentric con-man cousin. Novelist Joseph Skibell (A Curable Romantic) wrote Wooden Nickles based on an essay about Jack Tiger, his father’s cousin, which first appeared in Skibell’s book My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things. Critic Dara Bramsom called the essay collection “a chronicle of experience and aging, the process within which a part of us — no matter how much we resist it — inevitably echoes our parents.” Others have compared Skibell’s style to “Mark Twain meets Isaac Bashevis Singer meets Wes Anderson.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29; 2 p.m., March 1.  , Theatre Emory, 1602 Fishburne Drive # 230. 404-727-0524. http://theater.emory.edu/home/shows-events/calendar.html#/?i=1

Stellaluna

When Stellaluna unexpectedly falls into the middle of a bird family’s home, the baby fruit bat is graciously accepted as one of them, but only if she acts like a bird. “Mama Bird told me I was upside down. She said I was wrong...” says the little bat. “Wrong for a bird, maybe, but not for a bat!” Eventually, Stellaluna finds other bats and reunites with her mother. She introduces the birds to her bat family, and she and the birds decide that, despite their many differences, they are still friends. This world premiere adaptation at the Center for Puppetry Arts celebrates self-discoveries, unlikely friendships, and how we can be so different yet feel so much the same. 

Creative wizard Jon Ludwig adapted the story and directed the original production, which has been mounted on the largest set ever built at the Puppetry Center, and where every visual detail is closely based on the beloved children’s book by Janell Cannon. The author said she wrote the book to demonstrate that feeling like “a bat in a bird’s world” was universal. She must have been right, because since its publication in 1993, Stellaluna has sold well over two million copies globally and been translated into 30 languages. 

$19.50 and $25. Showtimes vary. Through March 8.Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. https://puppet.org/programs/stellaluna-2/

Parents. Families. Memory. Childhood. Nesting. Dreams. I definitely see patterns here, and they’re matching my mood in this, my 60th winter.

So, brave the slight chill of Atlanta this February and March. Get inside a theatre, meet some of these all-too-human families, and see if you recognize some part of your soul in one or more of these characters. Sitting there in the dark, listening, you might also discover a new, even more fascinating version of yourself. — CL —    Courtesy of Alliance Theatre MAYBE HAPPY ENDING: Cathy Ang and Kenny Yang star at the Alliance Theatre.  0,0,11    scenes&motions                             SCENES & MOTIONS: Not me. Us: six chances to connect "
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Tuesday February 4, 2020 01:51 pm EST
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  string(8482) "Looking for creative or quirky ways to escape from the dreaded December holiday crush other than hibernating at home or fleeing for parts unknown to others? Fear not, for visual and performing artists across the ATL are cooking up a wildly ersatz mix of performance experiences to enlighten, entertain, challenge, and surprise you.

Here are just four of them to seek out and submit to.

The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley (through Dec 29)

Theatrical Outfit premieres the latest love letter to Jane Austen by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, two fiercely talented playwrights with Atlanta connections. Inspired by characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley celebrates family and forgiveness at the time of year when many of us find ourselves yearning for one or the other, or perhaps more often, both family AND forgiveness. In the days immediately before and after Christmas 1815, a diligent housekeeper, an indomitable maid, and a lovesick groomsman struggle to control the boorish Mr. Wickham. At the Pemberley Estate, the servants’ quarters and the house kitchen also serve as a retreat for members of the ruling class who often come downstairs to confide in or comfort the maids, the butler, or the cook.

The play, though set over two centuries ago, looks at the central characters through a contemporary lens. Cassie (Lauren Boyd), the house maid, and Lydia (Erika Miranda), the upper-class young woman living upstairs, both refuse to marry the first handsome man who proposes to them. Both women strive against social conventions as they struggle to grow into themselves. When the story moves to December 26, better known as Boxing Day in England, the play explores another timeless question: How should we show our special appreciation for the men and woman whom we usually pay for the services they render throughout the year? Atlanta theatre lovers will be delighted to know these festivities are being directed with buoyant passion by the always brilliant Carolyn Cook.

Regardless of where the story of these literary characters takes you, I’ll wager that the gorgeous costumes, the period sets, and the rich British dialects are bound to put you in the best kind of holiday mood.

Christmas With The Crawfords (Dec 5-21)

Speaking of moods, or more precisely, tempers, perhaps you remember the notorious ’80s film Mommie Dearest starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. (“No wire hangers!”) And, hopefully, you lapped up Feud, FX Network’s brilliant Tinseltown cat fight with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford. Well then, you’re probably already familiar with the riotous theatrical spoof based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast Joan Crawford made from her Brentwood mansion in 1949. Christmas With The Crawfords is a mash-up musical parody and also a loving homage to Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Such legends as Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, Hedda Hopper, Ethel Merman, and the Andrews Sisters all have grand entrances, belt out holiday songs, and spit out over-the-top one liners.

The cast is fabulously diverse, with woman playing men, men playing women, and sassy adult actors portraying Joan Crawford’s ever-suffering children, Tina and Christopher. But lest we forget, the Crawfords were members of an actual family who felt pain and jealously as well as pride and love. As directed by Atlanta’s own Alice Acker, the all-local cast is sharp enough to reveal some of the bittersweet humanity behind the drag-alicious histrionics. Once again, the dazzling costumes and period set details are to die for.

Curious Holiday Encounters (Dec 5-8)

This month marks the 10th year, give or take, that 7 Stages has hosted some of the most original performances and immersive installations during the so-called “holiday season.” Each December, Wreck The Halls, the annual L5P Krampus Crawl, has converged at the world-famous theatre led by the full-tilt, head-bangin’ Rock Star Orchestra. Then, a few years ago, visionary puppeteer/director Michael Haverty curated the first of a series of “Curious Holiday Encounters,” inviting audiences to explore a cornucopia of visual and theatrical moments in every corner of 7 Stages’ creative space.


This year’s “Encounters” will appear and transform every crevice and corner, from the upstairs and downstairs lobby areas to the dressing rooms, the staff office, and the upstairs window balcony. (I’m super curious to see what might be happening on the roof!) Sky Creature Productions (Marium Khalid, Barrett Doyle, and Arianna Khmelnyuk) is creating a hypnotic time portal meditation on Past, Present, and Future; and visual artist Devi Well has crafted imagery honoring Celtic and other pagan origins of the season. Three multitalented “Jacks & Jills of all creative trades” — Nicolette Emmanuel, McKinley Campos, and Adam Pellitier, will challenge guests with Dual Spiral, their emotional response to giving and receiving; while poet/spoken word artists Theresa Davis and Desiree Renee share their poignant Remembrance.

 


Still curious? Then prepare to be enthralled by two movement theatre works: Hjól: The Wheel of the Year by Full Radius Dance; and the uniquely intimate moments of Charmed Ones by dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor performing with Alex Abarca, Nick Goodly, and Danyale Taylor. Venture even deeper into 7 Stages’ inner sanctums to discover Out Front Theatre’s hilarious Holigays and Theatre du Reve’s Masqued New Year’s Eve Revolution Ball!  …in French, no less. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” And finally, topping it all off, the Little Five Points Rock Star Orchestra, of course. Four nights only, Dec 5-8.


SAINT (Dec 14)

Connection. Trust. Intimacy. Relationship. These are the words artistic director Mallory Baxley uses to describe the powerful bond between the eight women dancers in SAINT, the newest premiere work by Zoetic Dance Ensemble. Zoetic has been an-all women ensemble since their inception 19 years ago. The premiere will be danced by veteran Zoetic members Jacquelyn Benthall, Hannah Carlin, Gabrielle Gambino, Ellie Peterson and Sarah Wildman together with three new dancers, Emma Morris, Katherine Reeves, and Tori Vincent.

Baxley says that “with each major new dance work, the dance artists who commit to creating and performing the work together spend six months or more confiding in each other, and sharing feelings, childhood memories, doubts, fears, regrets, and deepest aspirations. That level of intimacy builds an amazing amount of trust, and we use that to build the work.”


Anyone raised Roman Catholic associates the essence of Christmas with the Virgin Mary and the Nativity. Zoetic’s SAINT is not at all intended to have that kind of sacred meaning. Rather, the Zoetic artists intend it as “a collaborative dance project … about the evolution of perspective and the ideologies of individualized and collective femininity.” Baxley asks, “What is a woman? She is so many things. Saint. Sinner. Light. Dark. Soft. Hard. This new work explores culture perceptions of women and our own personal perceptions about who we are as women.”

SAINT will feature an original score composed and performed by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis and a trio of musicians. The dancers will wear costumes designed by Hannah James. Morgen Tanksley designed the immersive floor-to-ceiling installation and the graphic projections that will transform the interior of Ambient+ Studios massive 110-year old industrial space near West End. Zoetic’s latest premiere will have two performances only, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, December 14. God willing, you’ll find time to encounter this SAINT in person.

Most cultures around the world celebrate at least one holiday on or near the Winter Solstice. If there is one universal theme that resonates with people everywhere, it seems to be that of unity and connection — the idea that as family members, neighbors, coworkers, citizens, as men, women, and every variation of self-identity, we have more in common, than we have differences. The best public performances, be they sacred, serious, strange, or silly, bring audiences together, if only for a precious hour or two. Here’s hoping you experience a few of those hours around Atlanta stages over the next few weeks.

God bless us, every one. -CL-"
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Here are just four of them to seek out and submit to.

__The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley (through Dec 29)__

Theatrical Outfit premieres the latest love letter to Jane Austen by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, two fiercely talented playwrights with Atlanta connections. Inspired by characters in Jane Austen’s ''Pride and Prejudice'', T''he Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley'' celebrates family and forgiveness at the time of year when many of us find ourselves yearning for one or the other, or perhaps more often, both family AND forgiveness. In the days immediately before and after Christmas 1815, a diligent housekeeper, an indomitable maid, and a lovesick groomsman struggle to control the boorish Mr. Wickham. At the Pemberley Estate, the servants’ quarters and the house kitchen also serve as a retreat for members of the ruling class who often come downstairs to confide in or comfort the maids, the butler, or the cook.

The play, though set over two centuries ago, looks at the central characters through a contemporary lens. Cassie (Lauren Boyd), the house maid, and Lydia (Erika Miranda), the upper-class young woman living upstairs, both refuse to marry the first handsome man who proposes to them. Both women strive against social conventions as they struggle to grow into themselves. When the story moves to December 26, better known as Boxing Day in England, the play explores another timeless question: How should we show our special appreciation for the men and woman whom we usually pay for the services they render throughout the year? Atlanta theatre lovers will be delighted to know these festivities are being directed with buoyant passion by the always brilliant Carolyn Cook.

Regardless of where the story of these literary characters takes you, I’ll wager that the gorgeous costumes, the period sets, and the rich British dialects are bound to put you in the best kind of holiday mood.

__Christmas With The Crawfords (Dec 5-21)__

Speaking of moods, or more precisely, tempers, perhaps you remember the notorious ’80s film ''Mommie Dearest'' starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. (“No wire hangers!”) And, hopefully, you lapped up ''Feud'', FX Network’s brilliant Tinseltown cat fight with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford. Well then, you’re probably already familiar with the riotous theatrical spoof based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast Joan Crawford made from her Brentwood mansion in 1949. ''Christmas With The Crawfords'' is a mash-up musical parody and also a loving homage to Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Such legends as Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, Hedda Hopper, Ethel Merman, and the Andrews Sisters all have grand entrances, belt out holiday songs, and spit out over-the-top one liners.

The cast is fabulously diverse, with woman playing men, men playing women, and sassy adult actors portraying Joan Crawford’s ever-suffering children, Tina and Christopher. But lest we forget, the Crawfords were members of an actual family who felt pain and jealously as well as pride and love. As directed by Atlanta’s own Alice Acker, the all-local cast is sharp enough to reveal some of the bittersweet humanity behind the drag-alicious histrionics. Once again, the dazzling costumes and period set details are to die for.

__Curious Holiday Encounters (Dec 5-8)__

This month marks the 10th year, give or take, that 7 Stages has hosted some of the most original performances and immersive installations during the so-called “holiday season.” Each December, ''Wreck The Halls'', the annual ''L5P Krampus Crawl'', has converged at the world-famous theatre led by the full-tilt, head-bangin’ Rock Star Orchestra. Then, a few years ago, visionary puppeteer/director Michael Haverty curated the first of a series of “Curious Holiday Encounters,” inviting audiences to explore a cornucopia of visual and theatrical moments in every corner of 7 Stages’ creative space.

{img fileId="26547" stylebox="float: left; margin-right:15px;" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align:left;" max="600"}
This year’s “Encounters” will appear and transform every crevice and corner, from the upstairs and downstairs lobby areas to the dressing rooms, the staff office, and the upstairs window balcony. (I’m super curious to see what might be happening on the roof!) Sky Creature Productions (Marium Khalid, Barrett Doyle, and Arianna Khmelnyuk) is creating a hypnotic time portal meditation on Past, Present, and Future; and visual artist Devi Well has crafted imagery honoring Celtic and other pagan origins of the season. Three multitalented “Jacks & Jills of all creative trades” — Nicolette Emmanuel, McKinley Campos, and Adam Pellitier, will challenge guests with ''Dual Spiral'', their emotional response to giving and receiving; while poet/spoken word artists Theresa Davis and Desiree Renee share their poignant ''Remembrance''.

 

{img fileId="26549" stylebox="float: right; margin-left:15px;" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align:left;" max="300"}
Still curious? Then prepare to be enthralled by two movement theatre works: ''Hjól: The Wheel of the Year'' by Full Radius Dance; and the uniquely intimate moments of ''Charmed Ones'' by dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor performing with Alex Abarca, Nick Goodly, and Danyale Taylor. Venture even deeper into 7 Stages’ inner sanctums to discover Out Front Theatre’s hilarious ''Holigays'' and Theatre du Reve’s ''Masqued New Year’s Eve Revolution Ball!''  …in French, no less. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” And finally, topping it all off, the Little Five Points Rock Star Orchestra, of course. Four nights only, Dec 5-8.


__SAINT (Dec 14)__

Connection. Trust. Intimacy. Relationship. These are the words artistic director Mallory Baxley uses to describe the powerful bond between the eight women dancers in ''SAINT'', the newest premiere work by Zoetic Dance Ensemble. Zoetic has been an-all women ensemble since their inception 19 years ago. The premiere will be danced by veteran Zoetic members Jacquelyn Benthall, Hannah Carlin, Gabrielle Gambino, Ellie Peterson and Sarah Wildman together with three new dancers, Emma Morris, Katherine Reeves, and Tori Vincent.

Baxley says that “with each major new dance work, the dance artists who commit to creating and performing the work together spend six months or more confiding in each other, and sharing feelings, childhood memories, doubts, fears, regrets, and deepest aspirations. That level of intimacy builds an amazing amount of trust, and we use that to build the work.”

{img fileId="26548" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align:left;" relative="y" legacyalign="center" align="center" width="100%"}
Anyone raised Roman Catholic associates the essence of Christmas with the Virgin Mary and the Nativity. Zoetic’s ''SAINT'' is not at all intended to have that kind of sacred meaning. Rather, the Zoetic artists intend it as “a collaborative dance project … about the evolution of perspective and the ideologies of individualized and collective femininity.” Baxley asks, “What is a woman? She is so many things. Saint. Sinner. Light. Dark. Soft. Hard. This new work explores culture perceptions of women and our own personal perceptions about who we are as women.”

''SAINT'' will feature an original score composed and performed by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis and a trio of musicians. The dancers will wear costumes designed by Hannah James. Morgen Tanksley designed the immersive floor-to-ceiling installation and the graphic projections that will transform the interior of Ambient+ Studios massive 110-year old industrial space near West End. Zoetic’s latest premiere will have two performances only, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, December 14. God willing, you’ll find time to encounter this SAINT in person.

Most cultures around the world celebrate at least one holiday on or near the Winter Solstice. If there is one universal theme that resonates with people everywhere, it seems to be that of unity and connection — the idea that as family members, neighbors, coworkers, citizens, as men, women, and every variation of self-identity, we have more in common, than we have differences. The best public performances, be they sacred, serious, strange, or silly, bring audiences together, if only for a precious hour or two. Here’s hoping you experience a few of those hours around Atlanta stages over the next few weeks.

God bless us, every one. __-CL-__"
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  string(9375) " S&M Out Front Christmas With The Crawfords Diane Haymes Photography Resized  2019-12-03T22:59:00+00:00 S&M_Out_Front_-_Christmas_with_the_Cra...-_Diane_Haymes_Photography_resized.jpg    dance theater theatre edwardmcnally performance scenes&motions ‘We have more in common, than we have differences’ 26535  2019-12-03T22:54:43+00:00 SCENES & MOTIONS: Unity and connection in the theater jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Edward McNalley Edward McNally 2019-12-03T22:54:43+00:00  Looking for creative or quirky ways to escape from the dreaded December holiday crush other than hibernating at home or fleeing for parts unknown to others? Fear not, for visual and performing artists across the ATL are cooking up a wildly ersatz mix of performance experiences to enlighten, entertain, challenge, and surprise you.

Here are just four of them to seek out and submit to.

The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley (through Dec 29)

Theatrical Outfit premieres the latest love letter to Jane Austen by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, two fiercely talented playwrights with Atlanta connections. Inspired by characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley celebrates family and forgiveness at the time of year when many of us find ourselves yearning for one or the other, or perhaps more often, both family AND forgiveness. In the days immediately before and after Christmas 1815, a diligent housekeeper, an indomitable maid, and a lovesick groomsman struggle to control the boorish Mr. Wickham. At the Pemberley Estate, the servants’ quarters and the house kitchen also serve as a retreat for members of the ruling class who often come downstairs to confide in or comfort the maids, the butler, or the cook.

The play, though set over two centuries ago, looks at the central characters through a contemporary lens. Cassie (Lauren Boyd), the house maid, and Lydia (Erika Miranda), the upper-class young woman living upstairs, both refuse to marry the first handsome man who proposes to them. Both women strive against social conventions as they struggle to grow into themselves. When the story moves to December 26, better known as Boxing Day in England, the play explores another timeless question: How should we show our special appreciation for the men and woman whom we usually pay for the services they render throughout the year? Atlanta theatre lovers will be delighted to know these festivities are being directed with buoyant passion by the always brilliant Carolyn Cook.

Regardless of where the story of these literary characters takes you, I’ll wager that the gorgeous costumes, the period sets, and the rich British dialects are bound to put you in the best kind of holiday mood.

Christmas With The Crawfords (Dec 5-21)

Speaking of moods, or more precisely, tempers, perhaps you remember the notorious ’80s film Mommie Dearest starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. (“No wire hangers!”) And, hopefully, you lapped up Feud, FX Network’s brilliant Tinseltown cat fight with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford. Well then, you’re probably already familiar with the riotous theatrical spoof based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast Joan Crawford made from her Brentwood mansion in 1949. Christmas With The Crawfords is a mash-up musical parody and also a loving homage to Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Such legends as Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, Hedda Hopper, Ethel Merman, and the Andrews Sisters all have grand entrances, belt out holiday songs, and spit out over-the-top one liners.

The cast is fabulously diverse, with woman playing men, men playing women, and sassy adult actors portraying Joan Crawford’s ever-suffering children, Tina and Christopher. But lest we forget, the Crawfords were members of an actual family who felt pain and jealously as well as pride and love. As directed by Atlanta’s own Alice Acker, the all-local cast is sharp enough to reveal some of the bittersweet humanity behind the drag-alicious histrionics. Once again, the dazzling costumes and period set details are to die for.

Curious Holiday Encounters (Dec 5-8)

This month marks the 10th year, give or take, that 7 Stages has hosted some of the most original performances and immersive installations during the so-called “holiday season.” Each December, Wreck The Halls, the annual L5P Krampus Crawl, has converged at the world-famous theatre led by the full-tilt, head-bangin’ Rock Star Orchestra. Then, a few years ago, visionary puppeteer/director Michael Haverty curated the first of a series of “Curious Holiday Encounters,” inviting audiences to explore a cornucopia of visual and theatrical moments in every corner of 7 Stages’ creative space.


This year’s “Encounters” will appear and transform every crevice and corner, from the upstairs and downstairs lobby areas to the dressing rooms, the staff office, and the upstairs window balcony. (I’m super curious to see what might be happening on the roof!) Sky Creature Productions (Marium Khalid, Barrett Doyle, and Arianna Khmelnyuk) is creating a hypnotic time portal meditation on Past, Present, and Future; and visual artist Devi Well has crafted imagery honoring Celtic and other pagan origins of the season. Three multitalented “Jacks & Jills of all creative trades” — Nicolette Emmanuel, McKinley Campos, and Adam Pellitier, will challenge guests with Dual Spiral, their emotional response to giving and receiving; while poet/spoken word artists Theresa Davis and Desiree Renee share their poignant Remembrance.

 


Still curious? Then prepare to be enthralled by two movement theatre works: Hjól: The Wheel of the Year by Full Radius Dance; and the uniquely intimate moments of Charmed Ones by dancer/choreographer Corian Ellisor performing with Alex Abarca, Nick Goodly, and Danyale Taylor. Venture even deeper into 7 Stages’ inner sanctums to discover Out Front Theatre’s hilarious Holigays and Theatre du Reve’s Masqued New Year’s Eve Revolution Ball!  …in French, no less. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” And finally, topping it all off, the Little Five Points Rock Star Orchestra, of course. Four nights only, Dec 5-8.


SAINT (Dec 14)

Connection. Trust. Intimacy. Relationship. These are the words artistic director Mallory Baxley uses to describe the powerful bond between the eight women dancers in SAINT, the newest premiere work by Zoetic Dance Ensemble. Zoetic has been an-all women ensemble since their inception 19 years ago. The premiere will be danced by veteran Zoetic members Jacquelyn Benthall, Hannah Carlin, Gabrielle Gambino, Ellie Peterson and Sarah Wildman together with three new dancers, Emma Morris, Katherine Reeves, and Tori Vincent.

Baxley says that “with each major new dance work, the dance artists who commit to creating and performing the work together spend six months or more confiding in each other, and sharing feelings, childhood memories, doubts, fears, regrets, and deepest aspirations. That level of intimacy builds an amazing amount of trust, and we use that to build the work.”


Anyone raised Roman Catholic associates the essence of Christmas with the Virgin Mary and the Nativity. Zoetic’s SAINT is not at all intended to have that kind of sacred meaning. Rather, the Zoetic artists intend it as “a collaborative dance project … about the evolution of perspective and the ideologies of individualized and collective femininity.” Baxley asks, “What is a woman? She is so many things. Saint. Sinner. Light. Dark. Soft. Hard. This new work explores culture perceptions of women and our own personal perceptions about who we are as women.”

SAINT will feature an original score composed and performed by Xavier “Xay Zoleil” Lewis and a trio of musicians. The dancers will wear costumes designed by Hannah James. Morgen Tanksley designed the immersive floor-to-ceiling installation and the graphic projections that will transform the interior of Ambient+ Studios massive 110-year old industrial space near West End. Zoetic’s latest premiere will have two performances only, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, December 14. God willing, you’ll find time to encounter this SAINT in person.

Most cultures around the world celebrate at least one holiday on or near the Winter Solstice. If there is one universal theme that resonates with people everywhere, it seems to be that of unity and connection — the idea that as family members, neighbors, coworkers, citizens, as men, women, and every variation of self-identity, we have more in common, than we have differences. The best public performances, be they sacred, serious, strange, or silly, bring audiences together, if only for a precious hour or two. Here’s hoping you experience a few of those hours around Atlanta stages over the next few weeks.

God bless us, every one. -CL-    Diane Haymes CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRAWFORDS: Christmas Eve, 1949. One by one, a who’s who of Hollywood divas surprise and shock the imperious Joan Crawford during a live radio broadcast from her Brentwood mansion. Photo credit: Diane Haymes  0,0,10    edwardmcnally performance dance theater theatre scenes&motions                             SCENES & MOTIONS: Unity and connection in the theater "
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Tuesday December 3, 2019 05:54 pm EST
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