Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rita Dove waxes poetic with Creative Loafings' Curt Holman

Many of your poems involve historical events and figures, like the “Not Welcome Here” poems in your American Smooth volume. Do you write historical poems any differently than the others?
I do research, but I don’t think I approach those poems differently than I do others. The research is driven by curiosity more than anything else. When it’s done, while writing the poem I try to forget the research, although I have to make sure I get my facts straight. When I wrote the play Darker Face of the Earth, I had to do the research first, but writing, it’s just these characters and assigning their personalities.

Essential Theatre is producing that play this summer. Is it true the story is Oedipus on a slave plantation?
That’s it, in a pretty small nut. When I began working on the play, I was trying to understand what it would be like to not know who your mother and father were on a plantation. Around that time I was reading Oedipus and thinking, “How could Oedipus not figure this out?” and then I realized it was much the same thing, and I could transplant that myth. It allowed me to really enliven and embody the story within the scene and scenario of slavery. And it helped me understand Oedipus, and realize that this original text is not dead and buried; it still has to do with real life.


Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Festival Auditions

The Essential Theatre will hold General Auditions for the 2010 Essential Theatre Play Festival, three full-length plays to run in repertory (with separate casts) from July 8 – August 8, performing in the Actor’s Express space. (Performance schedules for the individual plays to be announced.) Non-union, most performers will be paid a stipend. General Auditions will be held on February 20 and 21 (location and time to be determined). Call 404-212-0815 or e-mail pmhardy@aol.com to schedule an audition appointment. Website www.EssentialTheatre.com. For audition, bring headshot and prepare two contrasting monologues (comic, dramatic, contemporary, classical – whatever) not totaling more than 4 minutes in length. If you sing, bring in about 30 seconds of something to sing without accompaniment.

The plays: THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH by Rita Dove, directed by Betty Hart. The classical story of Oedipus, from Greek Tragedy, re-imagined on a slave plantation in the American south. Large cast. Many African-American performers needed, both male and female, with possible ages ranging from 12 to 72. One Caucasian female, age around 40, and two Caucasian males, age range 30-50.

SALLY AND GLEN AT THE PALACE by Peter Hardy, directed by Ellen McQueen. Bittersweet comic drama about the friendship between two colleges students working in the lobby of a 1973 movie theatre. One male, one female, both early twenties.

QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT by Gabriel Dean, directed by Peter Hardy. Twisted and poetic family comedy set in rural Georgia, about a young man who discovers that his parents have become addicted to crystal meth. One male in the 50-60 range, one male around 30, one male in the 20-30 range, one male in the 30-50 age range. One female in the 50-60 range, one female around 30.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lunch with Poet Laureate & Playwright Rita Dove at Georgia Perimeter College

"Ten years ago, on a trip to London, I saw a wonderful production of an extraordinary play at the National Theatre -- THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (and former Poet Laureate of the United States), Rita Dove. It re-imagined the myth of Oedipus, from Greek Tragedy, setting it on a slave plantation in the American South. I fully expected this play to take America by storm but, to date, it hasn't received a professional production in the Southeast. The Essential Theatre is thrilled to be bringing this stunning play to Atlanta audiences, this summer, as part of the 2010 Essential Theatre Play Festival. And it was especially thrilling to be able to meet Rita Dove, who appeared in Atlanta this past weekend, to serve as Keynote Speaker for Georgia Perimeter College's annual birthday celebration for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ms. Dove spoke with WABE Between the Lines host, Valerie Jackson about her new book Sonata Mullatica. To learn more about this book, please visit her website and Amazon.com

Ms. Dove was very gracious in greeting myself and Betty Hart (who will direct the play), along with Dr. Mark Perloe, the President of our Board of Directors. Betty was able to chat briefly with Ms. Dove, and make arrangements to discuss the play with her by phone. We're excited to have this distinguished author's input on what we think will be a theatre event that all Atlanta audiences will want to see.

We also had the opportunity to meet and talk with Mark Fitten, editor of the Chattahoochee Review,and Rob Jenkins, chair of the GPC Writer's Institute and Jack Riggs, writer-in-residence, and found out that they have an interest in reaching out to playwrights as well as the prose and fiction writers they have usually published and worked with. We hope that this will help the Essential Theatre in their efforts to support and develop new dramatic work by Georgia writers." ~ Peter Hardy

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Essential Congratulates Playwright John Drago

Baby and Jennifer Defy the Laws of Timespace and All That That Implies by Johnny Drago will be presented at Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the intern showcase. This play was part of the Essential Shorts, a public reading of new short plays written by Working Title Playwrights during the Essential Theatre Festival of Plays at Actor's Express last summer.