With Stages Back Stage Theater's production of One Flea Spare closing Nov. 19, Atlanta sees the end of the city's Naomi Wallace Festival. Although the playwright is not exactly a household name, several of the Southern metropolis' theatre companies, including Theatre Emory, Georgia Shakespeare Company, Actor's Express and Synchronicity Performance Group, staged and read her works in a month-long festival that began Oct. 22.
At the center of festival were performances of Wallace's best known works, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek and One Flea Spare. Synchronicity Performance Group took 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 staged 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 performed 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 directed the reading at Conant Performing Arts Center Oct. 28.
Also planned for the festival were readings of various Wallace works. Actors' Express read 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 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, had three readings via Out of Hand Theater at Push Push Theatre (Oct. 26, 27) and Theatre Emory (Nov. 1). Tickets for One Flea Spare are $15. For further information on the Naomi Wallace Festival, visit the website at www.naomiwallacefestival.com.
— By Christine Ehren