Atlanta is on the rise with regards to new play growth, and Theatrical Outfit is leaping into the fray with their new program, Made in Atlanta. Now in its inaugural yr, this program goals to champion Southern and Georgia-based voices. This season will function workshops and readings of three new performs, together with one fee written completely for Theatrical Outfit.
The brainchild of creative director Matt Torney, this program has been in growth since 2020 however met surprising delays when the pandemic pressured Theatrical Outfit to quickly shut its doorways. Nevertheless, it’s now up and able to go, and affiliate creative director Addae Moon couldn’t be extra thrilled. “After I first utilized for the job at Theatrical Outfit, it was this program that made me need to apply,” Moon says. “This shift of focus into new work is the place my ardour lies.”
Theatrical Outfit does have some historical past with new play growth, primarily with the Graham Martin Surprising Play Competition, a yearly co-production with Working Title Playwrights. Nevertheless, within the case of Made in Atlanta, they’re making a push to middle particularly Southern tales and playwrights. “We actually need to be part of the event of a brand new Southern dramatic canon,” explains Moon. “What’s the South? How can we develop individuals’s notion of what Southern narratives are?”
This system kicked off on November 1 with Lee Osorio’s Windfall Canyon, which is impressed by Osorio’s personal experiences in his small hometown of Lumpkin, Georgia and offers with problems with immigration. The play was beforehand developed as a part of the Alliance Theatre’s Reiser Artists Lab in addition to the Surprising Play Competition.
Two different readings are forthcoming. This weekend, Theatrical Outfit will stage a studying of Younger John Lewis: The Prodigy of Protest, which tells the story of the late congressman within the years earlier than he turned a politician, together with his early experiences with nonviolent activism and the civil-rights motion. Penned by Psalmayene 24 and with unique music by Eugene H. Russell IV, Younger John Lewis was commissioned by Matt Torney in an try to talk to younger individuals within the midst of their very own political awakenings.
The collection will conclude on November 19 with a studying of Marry Me, Bruno Mars by Megan Tabaque. This play is about within the suburbs of Atlanta and offers with the trauma of the shootings that occurred final yr at quite a lot of Asian-American spas. It’s making the journey to Theatrical Outfit after first debuting in 2021 as a part of Theater Emory’s Courageous New Works competition.
The purpose of every of those performs is to middle Southern experiences in a approach that defies conventional expectations. The truth that every of those performs particularly facilities non-White Southern voices was not an intentional give attention to the a part of Theatrical Outfit, however is definitely not one which they’re shying away from both as they appear to usher in extra various experiences.
Every play will undergo a growth course of consisting of a weeklong workshop adopted by a public studying. The workshop will function the playwrights working along with a gaggle of actors, a director and a dramaturg to find out what works concerning the script and what wants altering. The target of the workshop is to not create an ideal ultimate product, however to assist the author’s voice be heard as clearly as attainable. It’s unlikely that any of those workshops will end in a elegant, world-premiere-ready script. Somewhat, these workshops are concerning the course of itself, and the entire discoveries that may be made alongside the best way.
After all, the method is a bit totally different for Younger John Lewis than both of the opposite two performs, each of which have had earlier growth at different areas. Moon makes clear that Psalmayene and the remainder of the artistic group are nonetheless working to fine-tune the piece — a course of which is able to make up a lot of the workshop time. As extra established items, Windfall Canyon and Marry Me, Bruno Mars will focus extra on making ready for a presentation. Nevertheless, as is the character of latest play growth, these are all works-in-progress, and Theatrical Outfit just isn’t seeking to rush the playwrights into producing a ultimate product that they don’t seem to be comfy with. This spirit of discovery is shared not solely by the writers however by the creative workers at Theatrical Outfit as all of them work out what codecs and buildings work finest transferring ahead.
“We’re kind of experimenting with what we all know,” Moon says. “I’ve been in new play growth for a bit over 20 years now, and Matt did a variety of that stuff earlier than he got here right here as nicely. So, we’ve got some concepts, however we additionally need to make it possible for it suits for Made in Atlanta and the form of work that we need to do transferring ahead.”
Luke Evans is an Atlanta-based author, critic and dramaturg. He covers theater for ArtsATL and Broadway World Atlanta and has labored with theaters such because the Alliance, Actor’s Categorical, Out Entrance Theatre and Woodstock Arts. He’s a graduate of Oglethorpe College, the place he earned his bachelor’s diploma, and the College of Houston, the place he earned his grasp’s.