By Michael Gioia
23 Jan 2012
Directed by Triad artistic director Preston Lane, the two parts of New Music will be performed in rotating repertory. Part I: August Snow and Night Dance will run Feb. 12-March 17 with an official opening set for Feb. 17; Part II: Better Days will be performed from Feb. 21-March 18 with an official opening set for Feb. 25.
"New Music is an audacious piece of writing," said director Lane in a statement. "Price's work juxtaposes personal heartbreaks with war and the ravages of time. These plays are like discovering a box of family photos hidden in an attic — mementos of where we came from, how we got here and who we are."
The two-part theatrical event will be performed by separate casts. Part I: August Snow and Night Dance features Mark Mozingo as Neal Avery, Gayton Scott as Roma Avery, Ginny Meyers Lee as Taw Avery, Matthew Delaney as Porter Farwell, Leah Turley as Genevieve Slappy and Chris Raddatz as Wayne Watkins. Part II: Better Days features Steve Brady as Neal Avery, Christine Morris as Taw Avery, Jeffery West as Porter Farwell and Michael Flannery as Fontaine Belfont. Raddatz and Turley, who appear in Part I, are also among the cast of Better Days, appearing as Cody Avery and Virginia Wilson, respectively. Bill Raulerson appears in both parts as Dob Watkins.
Here’s how Triad bills the work: "Enter a small town in eastern North Carolina and witness the lives of the Avery family and their friends. Part I begins in August 1937 with August Snow. One year into their troubled marriage, Taw Avery gives her husband, Neal, an ultimatum — he must put his past behind him or she will leave him forever. With less than a day to decide, they each make a journey of self discovery to find the meaning of commitment and sacrifice. Their story continues in Night Dance at the end of World War II. The battle may be over, but the loss of lives and dreams continues in its wake. Neal and Taw must carry on, searching for a way to keep hope and love at the heart of their family. In Part II: Better Days, friends and visitors gather to comfort Neal and Taw after the death of Neal’s mother, Roma, 30 years after the events in Night Dance. Their son, on leave from Vietnam, seeks a destiny beyond his family's roots. When Roma's will reveals a startling surprise, conflicting desires threaten to leave everyone in a state of uncertainty, and they will need enormous courage to meet the future in a swiftly changing world."
The first play of the New Music trilogy, August Snow, was commissioned in 1984 by Hendrix College in Arkansas. Price continued on the remaining plays over the next two years, and the entire trilogy had a workshop performance by Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1987. It premiered in its entirety in 1989 at Cleveland Play House. Since then, no other theatre company has mounted all three plays together.
Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Howard C. Jones, costume designer Bill Brewer, lighting designer John Wolf, sound designer Patrick Calhoun, associate director Bryan Conger, vocal coach Christine Morris and stage manager Bree Sherry.
Special weekend marathon performances of Part I and Part II will be held Feb. 25-26 and March 10-11. Additional special events include Technically Talking, a behind-the-scenes discussion with members of the design team (Feb. 14); the InSight Series, which brings Duke University professor Dr. John M. Clum to discuss his late friend and former colleague, Price (Feb. 19); and PostScript, open discussions with the casts, (March 1 for Part I and March 8 for Part II) in The UpStage Cabaret.
Triad Stage is a professional not-for-profit regional theatre company based in Greensboro’s downtown historic district.
New Music is also a part of the Greensboro Public Library's One City, One Author program, "Reynolds Price: The Writer, The Teacher and North Carolina Native Son," a four-month long celebration of over two dozen events honoring Price and his work. For more information on "One City, One Author" events, click here.
The Triad Stage in The Pyrle Theater is located at 232 South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro, NC. For more information and tickets, call (336) 272-0160 or (866) 579-TIXX or visit www.triadstage.org.