March – April 2016
Miss Julie, Clarissa and John
By Mark Clayton Southers
Directed by Monteze Freeland
Premiered 2016, revived July 2017, then toured to National Black Theatre Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017
“A tremendously theatrical event — a celebration of the enormous and unique power of drama and how a brilliant playwright writing at the top of his game can levitate an audience.” – Ted Hoover, City Paper
“A riveting reinvention … an inspired transfer.” – Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“I could go on at length about their performances but — and not to slight them — the news here is that Mark Southers has written a play that is destined for greatness.”
– Ted Hoover, City Paper
“A powerful dramatic experience”
– Yvonne Hudson, Pittsburgh in the Round
Inspired by August Strindberg’s groundbreaking 1888 naturalistic drama Miss Julie, Mark Clayton Southers relocates the action from Sweden to a Reconstruction-era Virginia plantation.
The dangerous attraction between the landowner’s daughter and his top servant takes on new shades as its taboo nature expands from crossing boundaries of social class to also encompass racial lines. The situation is heightened further by Southers’ extensive development of the third onstage character from Strindberg’s play, who in this searing version becomes central to the conflict through her identity as the mulatto daughter of a slave woman.
The result in our world premiere production is an intense struggle that illuminates cultural dynamics of two key moments in U.S. history: then and now.
2016 Theatre Festival in Black & White
Our signature one-act theatre festival returned for its twelfth year with another selection of entertaining short plays, scheduled in conjunction with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. All performances were FREE to the public!
Crossing Sacred Lines, by Michael Curry, directed by Brett Sullivan Santry.
Stay, by Ray Werner, directed by Cheryl El-Walker.
No Winners, by Daphne S. Austin, directed by Christine Marie.
Mental Case, by Kim El, directed by Andrew Huntley II.
Vows, by F.J. Hartland, directed by Stephanie Akers.
Home Again, Home Again, by Nik Nemec, directed by Wali Jamal.
Festival Coordinator: Eric A. Smith
Festival Artistic Associate: Monteze Freeland
By August Wilson
Directed by Mark Clayton Southers
“A raw dose of reality….a tug of war of hope and despair.”
– Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It’s 1948, and aspiring blues musician Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton, just out of jail, is asked to sign a record deal after a song he recorded months before becomes an unexpected hit. Can his fight for his own humanity, self-understanding and self-acceptance succeed in the face of personal and societal ills?
Our hugely successful production of August Wilson’s tragicomedy, which received Tony and Pulitzer nominations for its Broadway run in 1995, took place in the back yard of August Wilson’s childhood home, the actual setting of the play, a first.
Photos by Chris Chapman, Joy Southers and Gail Manker