The play by Carlyle Brown, author of previous ASF productions The Fula from America and The Negro of Peter the Great, is a joint commission by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Actors Theatre of Louisville. It premiered in the ATL Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2005, but was read and developed at ASF in 2004.
The production in Montgomery, AL, is under the banner of ASF's Southern Writers' Project, which has fed the Alabama festival with new works for several seasons. SWP's Festival of New Plays runs Feb. 3-5 with special events in addition to the longer-running mainstage work.
According to ASF production notes, "Pure Confidence tells the story of Simon Cato, a slave jockey who rides to buy his freedom as the Civil War breaks out, and examines the complex relationship between the former slave and his owner."
The plays is set at various Southern race tracks and at a Saratoga, NY, hotel.
Playwright Carlyle Brown explained, "As I began writing, the first question I asked myself was; if a man owned both the horse and the jockey, what would that relationship look like? This is that story." The production features ASF favorites Greta Lambert and Greg Thornton with Gavin Lawrence, Kelly Taffe, Larry John Meyers and Ron Riley.
"It is a human story that explores so many aspects of the human condition," said director Clinton Turner Davis, who gave Carlyle Brown the idea to write a play about African-American jockeys. "It has such grounding in understanding and love and that will always ring true. It's about coming to an understanding of our differences and the respect that results from that and the love engendered by it."
The creative team includes scenic designer Michael Fish, costume designer Alvin Perry, lighting designer Liz Lee and sound designer Jake Carter.
Opening night is Jan. 26. Performances play The Octagon Theatre of the Carolyn Blount Theatre.
For more information about Alabama Shakespeare Festival, call (800) 841-4ASF or visit www.asf.net.