Continuing their “elemental” 1999-2000 season, Austin's Zachary Scott Theatre have opened up the earth, via the southwest premiere of Suzan Lori Parks' The America Play. The drama, which ends its run March 19, began performances Feb. 10 and officially opened on the Whisenhunt Arena Stage Feb. 12.
In a surreal world, the Foundling Father, an African American Lincoln impersonator at an amusement park called the Great Hole of History, dies and is buried without his wife, Lucy, and their son, Brazil. Together, wife and child go to the Great Hole to find their loved one and instead dig up historical artifacts in which they seek to discover their American identity. Set designer Michael Raiford has constructed an earth mound and excavation site for the center stage, with his own interpretation of the Stars and Stripes and the "amber waves of grain" surrounding it.
It's a great time to catch Parks in Texas. Her Fucking A, a reinterpretation of "The Scarlet Letter" (different from her In The Blood, which recently ran at New York City's Public Theatre) is receiving its world premiere at Houston's DiverseWorks Artspace Feb. 24 March 18. Other pieces by Parks include her OBIE Award-winning plays Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990) and Venus (1996) as well as The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World.
Starring in America Play are Zach regular Janis Stinson (Lucy), Forrest Mcclendon (Foundling Father) and Stacey Robinson (Brazil), with April Matthis and Theo Jarvis in multiple roles.
Tickets are $27-$23. The Zachary Scott Theatre is located at 1510 Toomey Road. For tickets, call (512) 476-0541 ext. 1. The Zachary Scott Theatre is on the web at http://www.zachscott.com. * The Zach's elemental season has already seen fire; The Flaming Idiots (Gyro, Pyro and Walter) made the theatre their last stop before heading on to New York City's New Victory Theatre. Water follows The America Play's earth with the April 27-June 4 production of Tina Howe's Pride's Crossing on the Kleberg Stage. The final offering will be Tapestry: The Music of Carole King, an interweaving of songs from King like "Natural Woman" and "It's Too Late" with true stories from the lives of Austin women, running June 22-Aug. 13. The theatre is also currently offering The Rocky Horror Show, through April 1.
-- By Christine Ehren