Dad's Garage Theatre's terrorist comedy The B-Team marks the final show Kate Warner will direct as the artistic director of the Inman park playhouse. As she arranges to leave the ATL to become artistic director of Boston's New Repertory Theatre, I thought I'd look back at five of my favorite shows Warner directed over the years, many of which showcased the work of such terrific young local actors as John Benzinger, Kate Donadio, Matt Myers and Alison Hastings (pictured, from Punk Rock Will Never Die).
The Island (Theatrical Outfit, 2003) Since Warner took the reins at Dad's Garage in 1995, she has primarily occupied a niche of directing new comedies and pop-savvy musicals. For almost 10 prior years, however, she was managing director of Theatrical Outfit, where she helmed some charged dramas. The most impressive of these was The Island, which starred Kenny Leon and Johnell Easter in Athol Fugard's play set at the same South African prison that held Nelson Mandela.
8 1/2 x 11: Punk Rock Will Never Die (Dad's Garage, 2004). Warner worked with multiple directors for this evening of short plays, but deserves a nod as overall "curator" for a show that launched the annual play festival (currently on hiatus) in a new direction. As a unifying motif, the punk rock theme dovetailed perfectly with the Dad's Garage scrappy attitude, while serving as the most dramatically satisfying show of all the 8 1/x 11s.
Reefer Madness (Dad's Garage, 2006). Dad's Garage frequently opens its seasons with a hip musicals that provide ironic perspectives of kitschy films. This irreverent treatment of the notorious anti-marijuana film of 1936 features funny performances, catchy songs and more clever satire than simple kitsch factor. (That said, the most memorable moment I recall from a Warner-directed musical was probably Doyle Reynolds singing Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch?" as the narrator of The Rocky Horror Show).
Skin (Dad's Garage, 2007). Warner frequently directed the world premieres of dark new work by playwright Steve Yockey, most recently with Octopus at Actor's Express. Of their collaborations, I was most intrigued by this drama of desire, cruelty and self-destruction, and not just because of its unabashed eroticism.
Indulgences (Dad's Garage, 2008). Combining minor characters from Macbeth with a profane salesman worthy of David Mamet, Craig Craddock's literate but goofy comedy provided such an ideal vehicle for the Dad's ensemble's improv-influenced acting style that it hit the heights of screwball ecstasy.
Feel free to suggest others in the comments field.
Photo by Linnea Frye
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