The Alliance Theatre is pleased to announce the three artistic projects chosen for development during its second annual Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Each project will receive $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance’s artistic, educational and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. The lab productions will be presented in free performances in the Spring of 2016.
In 2013, the Alliance Theatre launched the Atlanta Artists Lab to support and provide opportunities to artists of multiple theatre disciplines looking for a producing home for undeveloped work. Each year, three projects are chosen by a panel of judges representing local and national artists of varying disciplines. This year’s judges were Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, Alliance Theatre; Suehyla El-Attar, Alliance Theatre Artistic Fellow; Mike Lew, Playwright & Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition winner; Freddie Ashley, Artistic Director, Actor’s Express; Lisa Cremin, The Community Foundation.
The goals for the program are to provide an opportunity for artists to grow by having time and space to explore new ideas, to include the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab within the Alliance’s annual core programming, to become a home base for local artists to create new work, and to eventually include at least one production in every subscription season that originated in the Lab. The outpouring of applications each year of the program shows the vibrancy of the artistic community living in Atlanta and the need for further support of local art.
The three projects that were chosen for the second Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab are:
- N/A (untitled)
Lead Artist: Nichole Palmietto, Director Support Artists: Annie Harrison Elliott, Neeley Gossett (Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist), and Addae Moon, Playwrights
- The collaborative team behind Found Stages Theatre’s Beulah Creek reunites to tell the story of three characters navigating various disappearances through three new, short and interconnected pieces of writing. This immersive theatre production follows the characters’ journey to rediscover themselves, their families and communities after experiences of loss. The audience will travel with the characters through multiple locations, becoming part of the play. Led by director Nichole Palmietto and playwrights Annie Harrison Elliott, Neeley Gossett and Addae Moon, this site-specific theatre project will explore new models of producing and developing new plays. Borrowing curatorial techniques from the visual arts, the stories of each playwright will intersect, weaving a larger play that is universal and collaborative even in its development process. Audience engagement through ritual and transitions will be built into the script, as will the story’s connection to its future production space – preserved ruins.
- Morgan Freeman Presents the Magic Negro and Other Blackness Lead Artist: Mark Kendall, Playwright and Performer Support Artists: Linnea Frye, Producer; Megan Leahy, Director
- Morgan Freeman Presents the Magic Negro and other Blackness is a one-man sketch-show about the depiction of black men in the media. Any time you see a black man on your screen, chances are it has been created or controlled by a white man. What does it mean when you are not in control of the way that you are represented? How does this lack of control in media spill into other areas of life? Examining everything from prison to white flight and even Black Jesus – the show will explore the answers to these questions. The Magic Negro (the elderly black man who pops up in movies, often played by our man Morgan) will serve as the audience’s guide through the show in a wonderful journey through space and time looking at material from books, TV, film and the web. See what happens if you look for the underlying racial message in Green Eggs and Ham! Come watch Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben get freaky together! Dance along to the Cha Cha Slide! Word to your mother. But not the n-word. Just kidding. Maybe not. Who knows?! This show is in further development from its 2014 production at Dad’s Garage.
- The Untitled Red Book Project Lead Artist: Haddon Kime, Co-Music, Co-Lyrics, Sound Designer Support Artists: Marium Khalid, Co-Music, Co-Lyrics, Director; Katie Givens Kime, co-writer, Dramaturg; Phillip Justman, co-writer, actor
- The Untitled Red Book Project explores the story of Bea, a young American photography student, who finds herself in Zurich, Switzerland in 2007 assisting in the documentation of a century-old book, hidden from the world until that moment: The Red Book. Written by Carl Jung, a founder of modern psychology, The Red Book is an intimate journal that records his personal pursuit of dreams, inner images, and the mysterious, bizarre unconscious…with extraordinary results. As Bea documents the paintings and words within The Red Book, she confronts the realm of her own unconscious — meeting Jung halfway between this world and a world boiling just under the surface. Led by composer, lyricist and sound designer Haddon Kime, the artistic team for this project includes Saïah Arts International founders Marium Khalid and Phillip Justman, as well as Katie Givens Kime, a doctoral student in religion and psychoanalysis at Emory University, and published adaptor/director Vincent Murphy (artistic consultant). This show will feature an ambitious sound design and original songs, exploring what is both recognizable and bizarre to every one of us: our dreams, and all that springs from our unconscious.
“Odd as it sounds, the delight of this year’s selection process was how impossibly difficult it was,” said Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, Alliance Theatre. “The judges were presented with such a wealth of brilliant ideas, passionate artists and rich possibilities, that narrowing down to only three was extraordinarily challenging. That said, we anticipate that these three projects, and the artistic teams behind them, will provoke and stretch the Atlanta theatre scene in some incredibly generative ways.”
“This year was very competitive with many applicants strengthening ideas and partnerships formed in the inaugural year,” said Celise Kalke, Director of New Projects, Alliance Theatre. “I am so excited by the talent and drive of artists in the Atlanta community.”
Funding for the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab is provided by a Margaret and Bob Reiser. In appreciation of their ongoing and broad support of the arts community in Atlanta, the Reisers will be the honorees of the Alliance Theatre’s annual A Tony Evening party and fundraiser. This year’s A Tony Evening is scheduled for Saturday, May 16. More information to follow in a separate press release.
Learn more about the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, including information on how to submit a project for consideration, at http://www.alliancetheatre.org/content/reiser-atlanta-artists-lab-0.