Jan. 10 marks the world premiere of Sailing To Byzantium, a new play by Sandra Deer, the author of So Long On Lonely Street, Amazing Grace and Gal Baby. Chris Coleman will direct the piece at Actor's Express in Atlanta.
Set during the unrest of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rebellion, Byzantium traces the romance of novelist Olivia Shakespear [sic] with poet W.B. Yeats. Also on hand will be Olivia's daughter, husband, poet Ezra Pound and an uninvited guest -- international spy Maude Gonne. Yeats and Shakespear had an affair when they were both involved in England's theosophical society.
Director Coleman, artistic director of Actor's Express, has described the play as "the dance between erotic and spiritual love -- how those two energies drive our lives, fight for control, and push us beyond our boundaries. Everybody in the play is looking for the one thing that will hook them up to an experience of ecstasy, whether it be a sexual relationship, psychic revelation, investment in a political cause or civic responsibility."
Appearing in Byzantium are Chris Kayser (Yeats), Jenn Suchanec (Georgie), Jennifer Deer (Dorothy), Josie Burgin Lawson (Olivia), Theo Harness (Hope), Peter Ganim (Ezra Pound) and Elisa Lloyd (Maude).
Actor's Express, "in the business of helping myths sing for our time," has, since 1988, aimed to produce "plays that sweep us off our feet, fill us with a sense of wonder and leave us dizzy." They are a member of the Atlanta Theatre Coalition and a constituent of Theatre Communications Group. For tickets ($14-$18) and information on Sailing To Byzantium at Actor's Express on West Marrietta St. Through Feb. 16, call (404) 607 7469.
--By David Lefkowitz