Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Money Blues Come to Berea

Money Blue$: A Collection of Ten Minute Plays by Carrider M. Jones, Toby Sturgeon Wilcher, Melissa Lamb-Rue and Trish Ayers run Thursday February 10 through Saturday February 12, 2011 at Berea Arena Theatre. The plays are directed by
Glenda Dent White.

Trish Ayers and Glenda Dent White are both members of the Kentucky Playwrights Workshop, Inc. and 517 Playwrights.

Admission is $5.00 and 1 Food Item for the Food Pantry. Tickets are available at the door, from cast members or, for more information,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Six New Plays to be Read on Sunday

Six new plays will be given first readings at the next meeting of 517 Playwrights on Sunday February 13, 2011. The readings of new scripts, all by Kentucky playwrights-- will take place from 2-5 pm at Common Grounds Coffee House in Lexington. Among the plays are two short one acts by Heidi Saunders, a 30 minute one act by Bill McCann and three related 10-minute plays by George McGee. The meeting is open to both the members and the public. If you have an interest in the development of new works for the stage, please join us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World Opens February 18th

The 2010-11 Berea College Theatre season continues with The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World by Suzan Lori-Parks. Performances are 8pm February 18, 19 and 23-26 in the McGaw Theatre in the Jelkyl Drama Center. There will be a sign interpreted performance Friday, February 25th.

Considered to be Suzan Lori-Parks’ masterpiece says Director Adanma Barton The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, is a piece that is rarely performed due of the nature of its absent discernable plot; “ [Death] is a non-linear play…I love that.” Says Barton. The play also delves into the African American stereotype; “The figures themselves, these African American stereotypes… how do you stay true to the script and make it … relatable?” While Death is a show that is engaging, it can be a hard show to produce; although Barton says she likes a challenge. “I have always wanted to tackle directing this play. I love the way Parks uses repetition and revision, and how she explores the rhythm of language.”
One of the biggest things you can hear in the show is its ties to African American music, which has greatly influenced Parks’ work, according to Barton. Berea College theatre alum Thomas Usher will be involved in bringing music to the production. “What we are doing is keeping with Susan Lori-Parks' evocation of jazz with her words through hinting at various American genres like jazz and blues, all at the same time blending Afro-influenced percussion styles from several areas like Haiti, Ghana, Senegal and a few others,” says Usher.

Parks was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and began creative writing at a very young age, though she began exploring writing for the stage during her time at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Parks wrote The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World in 1992 and it premiered at the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association. She has written nineteen full length plays including In the Blood, Topdog/Underdog, and the screen play Their Eyes Were Watching God. She has won several awards including the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Topdog/Underdog, and the 2008 NAACP Theatre Award for Ray Charles Live! as well as receiving the MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant.

Berea College has produced Parks’ Topdog/Underdog as well as participating in the year-long premiere of 365 Days/365 Plays.

Tickets for The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World are on sale now. Performances are 8pm February 18, 19 and 23-26. Convocation performances are February 23 and 25.

Call the Berea College Theatre box office at (859) 985-3300 Monday through Friday, from 1-5pm and one hour prior to all performances. Tickets range in price from $5 to $10.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Balagula Theatre to Host New Play

The Balagula Theatre, Lexington, KY, will help honor the lives of 146 workers killed in an industrial fire with the presentation of Fabric, Flames and Fervor: Girls of the Triangle and to support the Looking for Lilith Theatre Compamy's effort to bring a work by Kentucky artists to the national attention.

Fabric, Flames, and Fervor: Girls of the Triangle was created by Lauren Argo, Kathi E.B. Ellis, Trina Fischer, Kelby McIntyre, Kelly McNerney, Laura Morton, Jill Schierbaum, Jennifer Thalman Kepler and Shannon Woolley. The play stars Lauren Argo, Trina Fischer, Carolyn Purcell(NY)/Jennifer Thalman Kepler(KY), Dawn Elizabeth Schulz, Karole Spangler, and Shannon Woolley.

The play has been evolving since 2006 when director Kathi E.B. Ellis first brought the idea of this project to Trina Fischer and Shannon Woolley of “Looking For Lilith”, who themselves had been interested for years in the topic and hoped to one day create such a play. Finding this synchronicity of interests, they began working together on other projects until the time was right to begin "The Triangle Project." Most of 2008 was spent creating this new play and it premiered on the 98th anniversary of the fire, March 25, 2009.

Kathi E.B. Ellis directs; Casey Clark did the lighting design; Lindsay Chamberlin designed the costumes; Jill Marie Schierbaum did the set design; Nathan Roberts did sound design; and Robert Quinlan served as dialect coach.

In 2006 This production was made possible in part through grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, sponsorship by the KY AFL-CIO, and generous contributions from many individuals in the Kentuckiana area. Efforts to take the show to New York City for a brief run are being underwitten in part by proceeds from benefit performances being put on in both Lexington and Shelbyville, KY.

The benefit performance at Natasha’s Bistro and Bar, 112 Esplanade, Lexington will be held on Wednesday March 16, 2011. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students. Dining seating is available from 5:30- 7:30 pm. Theatre seating begins at 8:15 with the curtain rising at 8:30. For reservations call 859-259-2754 or visit

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Three by George to be Read February 13

THREE BY GEORGE! a group of three related 10-minute plays written by George McGee will be informally read at the next meeting of 517 Playwrights on February 13, 2011 at Common Grounds Coffee House in Lexington from 2-5 pm. The meeting is open to the public.

The three plays are all set in the a large upscale hotel restaurant in a large city. Each play is summarized below:

AT IT AGAIN! - Margaret returns from the restroom to find Nelson sitting alone at the table. Nelson tells Margaret that her husband and his wife are dancing…somewhere. Margaret sits down in shock and tells Nelson that her husband is, “At it again”.

SHALL WE DANCE ? - Dan and his fiancĂ©, Gillian are having dinner with Dan’s recently widowed father, Mike. Dan is called away leaving Gillian and Mike to…”Make nice”…it’s not going very well.

JUST DESSERTS - Two college students, (Patrick and Leslie) have been ordered by their respective Greek organizations to meet in a ‘fancy’ restaurant for a blind date…the only problem is each has to dress as the opposite sex…and they aren’t fooling anybody.

Mr. McGee is an actor and playwright who directs the theatre department at Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY. He is probably best known for his portrayal of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay for the Kentucky Humanities Council's Kentucky Chatauqua program.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Balagula Will Host a Louisville Theatre On Its Way to New York

The Balagula Theatre, Lexington Kentucky, will host a Benefit Performance of Fabric, Flames, and Fervor: Girls of the Triangle, an original play created and produced by “Looking For Lilith”, a Louisville based ensemble theatre.

The play was inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 in New York City, and explores the lives of women and girls who were tragically killed in that garment factory fire, the ensuing trial against the owners, its effect on the labor rights movement and a drastic change of the US labor laws that it inspired.

The March 16 Benefit Performance in Lexington, as well as a number of performances in Shelbyville (Feb 24-26, Mar 3-5), aims to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this important event in the American History as well as to raise funds for this Kentucky theatre to present their powerful original work at the Manhattan Theatre Source (March 24-27) as a part of the national centennial remembrance event in New York.