Naomi Wallace may not be as well known as other playwrights, but the city of Atlanta wants to change that. Several of the Southern metropolis' theatre companies, including Theatre Emory, Georgia Shakespeare Company, Actor's Express and Synchronicity Performance Group, are staging the playwright in a month-long festival running through Nov. 19.
At the center of festival are performances of Wallace's best known works, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek and One Flea Spare. Synchronicity Performance Group takes on One Flea, set during the 1665 Plague in Europe and inside the home of the upper-middle class Snelgraves, trying to survive by imprisoning themselves in their own home. Theatre Emory stages Trestle, the story of a boy and girl whose desperation to escape their dead-end town leads to a very dangerous game atop a train trestle.
One Flea Spare plays Oct. 26-Nov. 19 at 7 Stages Back Stage Theater. The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek performs Oct. 24-Nov. 10 at Mary Gray Munroe Theater at Emory University.
Georgia Shakespeare Company stages the prime reading of the festival, a new Wallace commission being developed for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Titled The Inland Sea, the historical drama pits a 1760's landscape designer planning a new lord's estate in Yorkshire against the area's commoners who have buried their secrets out on the lord's land. Richard Garner directs the reading at Conant Performing Arts Center Oct. 28. The fee is five canned goods for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Also planned for the festival are readings of various Wallace works. Actors' Express reads The Retreating World Oct. 30 with Brad Davidorff as an Iraqi man recounting his country's devastation and recovery in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Horizon Theatre Company and Georgia State University will read In the Fields of Aceldama, the story of a 17 year old girl preparing to leave the Kentucky farm she grew up on in the 1960's, Oct. 27 at the Horizon Theatre. Standard Time, a monologue on white trash and cash, gets three readings via Out of Hand Theater at Push Push Theatre (Oct. 26, 27) and Theatre Emory (Nov. 1). Tickets range from $15-$12 for the fully-staged productions and $5 for readings. For further information on the Naomi Wallace Festival, visit the website at www.naomiwallacefestival.com.
— By Christine Ehren