Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Bailey, Macon
Brenda Bynum, Atlanta
Jerry and Kathy Chappelle, Watkinsville
Dr. James C. Cobb, Athens
Dale Dyer, Blue Ridge
Joyce Perdue-Smith, Rome
Mausiki Scales, Atlanta
Robert Webb, Dalton
Foxfire, Mountain City
Pasaquan Preservation Society, Buena Vista
Slow Exposures, Zebulon
Telfair Museums, Savannah
Curator Dominic D’Andrea explains that the project is about the group as a whole, rather than about the individual artists. “What we do here is a social barometer project," she says. "We use this as an opportunity to see where we are as a community.”
Now that the festival is in its fourth year in Atlanta, a company of frequent participants has developed, and D’Andrea finds himself flattered that artists are clamoring to get in on the action. The writers are given a prompt to consider the world around them, and scripts are turned in about a month before the festival. From that point, certain themes will arise based on the submissions, and the productions are placed into eight to nine play “clumps” and given to a director and team of actors. This team then meets for around 1 12 to 15 hours to prepare for the event. And somehow, it all comes together, and everyone gets on and off-stage at the appropriate times. Witnessing the effective teamwork by this group of volunteers, one can’t help but wish that Atlanta’s food festival organizers would attend and take notes (eyes on you, Lobster Festival).
Of course, it’s challenging to give a synopsis of the state of affairs of our city in 60 seconds or less, but D’Andrea notes the time doesn't take away from the overall impact. “When a one-minute play is good, it suggests the world that is much bigger than the frame of the play itself" he says. "It becomes a chorus of voices that say something about the wider world. It’s not about cramming everything into a minute, but about creating a moment where we can see the world around it."
Naturally, in Atlanta you can expect some exasperated comedies about traffic and the ITP/OTP “brother against brother” style divide of the city, but D’Andrea teases that this year’s group contains some intense and serious topics as well, including city politics. Still, he stresses that it is the collection of works that makes the evening so unique, rather than any one particular element.
You’ll leave the performance feeling not only wowed by the collection of talent in Atlanta but also with plenty of ideas about the city to consider. When you see the entire crew onstage at the end of the show, it’s difficult not to have an overwhelming emotional response to the impact of the collective group of Atlanta’s voices. And if any particular play doesn’t work for you, well, it’ll be over before you can get mad at it, right?
4th Annual One-Minute Play Festival. $20. Sun., June 7, at 6 p.m.; Mon., June 8, at 7:30 pm.; and Tues., June 9, at 7:30 p.m. Actor's Express, 887 West Marietta St N.W. J-107. 404-607-7469. oneminuteplayfestival.com.
These days, it’s big news when a local arts organization can nab a sizable grant, and adventurous theater company Actor’s Express has just snagged a big one from the Schubert Foundation. A longtime supporter of AE, the foundation is focused on providing assistance to live performing arts in the U.S., primarily theatre but dance as well. The foundation helps with the operating costs of not-for-profit theatre and dance companies, and it has just pledged $20,000 to AE for the company’s 2015-2016 season.
The upcoming season will include performances of Stupid F*ing Bird (a comedic take on Chekhov’s The Seagull); The Thrush & the Woodpecker (a revenge thriller); Blackberry Winter (a new work about caring for someone with Alzhimer’s); the Sondheim classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (starring local powerhouse Kevin Harry), Serial Black Face (a drama about the real-life murders of children in Atlanta in 1979); and Significant Other (a fun romantic gay comedy from the playwright of this year’s hit, Bad Jews). There will also be frequent readings and other smaller performances throughout the season.
In addition to providing grants to regional companies, the foundation is the sole shareholder of the Shubert Organization, Inc., which currently owns and operates more than 20 theaters, including 17 on Broadway.
One of Atlanta's most prized cultural institutions is on the move ... kind of. The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) recently launched their Fox in a Box program, an interactive exhibit that mixes school curriculum with prominent events in the theater's historical timeline. The transportable installation includes several interactive elements including an introductory video, images projected on flat-screen televisions, and photo wall.
Fox in a Box is a product of a 10-week interior design class at the Savannah College of Art and Design, sponsored by the Fox Theatre. SCAD students were asked to design an informative, educational pod that could be taken on the go to schools, and other theaters. With the help of local design firm, Station 16 Creative, Fox in a Box went from concept to fully realized traveling exhibit.
"Fox in a Box challenges the elementary students to think about how communities came together to share an experience and to protect what's important to them," FTI's Community Engagement Manager Carmie McDonald said in a statement,
The exhibit sits on a 24-by-24-foot carpet, with 8-foot-tall frames, and takes about four hours to put together. Inside the Box a Student Guide encourages visitors to examine real and replicated images from the Fox's archives and create their own field reports. Another feature involves students being asked questions via the interactive panels. Topics include the history of the theater's Save the Fox campaign in the 1970s, and its continued mission to keep the country's other cultural institutions alive and kicking.
The Fox in a Box exhibit made its premiere at the Museum School in Avondale Estates at the end of last year. More stops are on tap in 2015, as the Fox celebrates the 40th anniversary of Save the Fox.
Tonight exonerated death row inmate Anthony Graves will debut his one-man stage narrative "Graves Injustice" at the Riverside EpiCenter Auditorium in Austell.
Graves served 18-and-a-half years in a Texas prison for the murder of a family that he did not commit. He has been exonerated and compensated by the state of Texas for the crime that was committed against him by the state. When his case was overturned in 2006, it was ruled that the the district attorney who prosecuted him used false testimony and withheld favorable evidence to convict Graves. Graves is now pursuing charges against the prosecutor and a recent ruling means that the district attorney will have to appear in court.
Graves is now taking his story on the road "to educate people about the need for criminal justice reform," he says.
"The defense must be given the same resources as the state to make sure a person gets a fair trial," Graves told CL, emphasizing the need for people to fulfill their civic duty by serving on juries and grand juries. "We must get involved, we have to work for the changes we want to see."
"I know from what I witnessed in prison that I had to come out and be an advocate for reform and a voice for the voiceless," he said. "Prison was the worst nightmare you can ever imagine. It was the worst hell you could experience. I lived it for 6,640 days straight. I know I had to tell my story and advocate for a better system because what I witnessed is totally inhumane."
Since 1973 there have been 150 death row exonerations in the United States.
Graves 120-minute multimedia stage show takes the audience through his story from the day of his arrest to his exoneration to what he is doing today. He says he decided to debut it in Atlanta because "this is the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement and what I am advocating for is a civil rights movement of the criminal justice system."
The show starts tonight at 8:00 pm.
(Editors note: Post updated to include video)
Dahlonega's Historic Holly Theatre just got a $10,000 helping hand. For their 2014-2015 Preservation Grant, the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) awarded the theater with funding that will go toward restoration, and future planning. More specifically, the grant will be centered around the masonry for three sides of the Holly Theatre building and an environmentally conscious upgrade for the marquee.
Since 2008, the FTI has worked on 10 projects in the state, totaling more $332,000. The focus of the nonprofit has been the preservation of various arts venues. The Fox has been helping with strategic planning for Holly in the past few years, so the downtown Dahlonega institution can get some much-needed TLC.
"The Holly Theatre has a long history of being an economic engine in the downtown Dahlonega area and we are excited about the opportunity to boost their arts program," Molly Fortune, the Fox's director of restoration and operations said in a statement. "When the Fox was in trouble 40 years ago, the Atlanta community rallied together to 'Save the Fox.' Now we have the knowledge and resources to help other venues in Georgia not only restore their buildings, but also strengthen their communities."
The entire Holly Theatre restoration project, including a fresh new paint job and LED bulbs for the marquee, should be all said and done by the end of June. Along with FTI grant, Holly Theatre also received a $20,000 award from Georgia Tourism and Georgia Council for the Arts.
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