Happy New Year!

After a too-long hiatus, we are back with events and details of interest to those studying Performance Studies @ Duke and in the surrounding area. This first post of the new year covers three major performance events opening this month, all of which include world-premiere work by local writers.

January 13-30 finds the world-premiere of Raleigh-based playwright Kelly Doyle’s Blue at Burning Coal Theatre (Raleigh). This dark comedy centers on a woman who must decide between love that is steady and childlike in its take on romance and love that is thrilling and sexually risky but also tinged with elements of abuse and neglect. Doyle’s take on running away to join the circus is directed by Mark Sutch with a big top/high-wire inspired set design by Molly Ennes. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for students, seniors and active military, $10 for all on Thursdays and $5 student rush tickets can be obtained five minutes prior to curtain per availability.

January 25-30 is the Solo Takes On 2 performance festival at UNC-Chapel Hill. The festival, now in its second year, includes shows created by a current graduate student in Performance Studies at UNC, a UNC alumnus, and a visiting artist. All tickets are $5. A Solo Pass $10 is good for admission to all performances. The following is a short snippet about each piece from the department’s press release and a schedule of days/times for performances.

  • G(rape), by graduate student Gretchen Fox Klobucar, is a riff on Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes” that explores relationships among memory, trauma and dreams.
  • On Breathing in the Barrel, by UNC alumnus Sean McKeithan, is a personal history looking at the Southern culture of bourbon whisky and its ties to masculinity. Department artist in residence Joseph Megel will direct.
  • La Vida Loca, by guest artist Carlos Manuel, is a monologue about his “crazy life,” based on the Ricky Martin song “Living La Vida Loca.” Manuel, an assistant professor at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., directs its theater program. His visit is supported by the Teatro Latino/a Series at UNC.

The schedule of Solo Takes On: 2

  • Tuesday, January 25
    • 5:00 p.m. G(rape)
  • Wedneday, January 26
    • 5:00 p.m. On Breathing in the Barrel
  • Thursday, January 27
    • 5:00 p.m. G(rape)
    • 7:30 p.m. On Breathing in the Barrel
  • Friday, January 28
    • 7:30 p.m. G(rape)
    • 9:00 p.m. La Vida Loca
  • Saturday, January 29
    • 3:00 p.m. G(rape)
    • 8:00 p.m. La Vida Loca
    • 10:00 p.m. On Breathing in the Barrel
  • Sunday, January 30
    • 3:00 p.m. On Breathing in the Barrel

Over at Manbites Dog Theater (Durham) is the world-premiere of Nightwork a new comedy by Durham-based playwright/actor, Monica Byrne. Byrne, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in geobiology from MIT, sets her play’s action in a university lab populated by strung-out graduate students working under conditions of “harrowing and hilarious academic purgatory.” The show opens with a pay-what-you can preview on Thursday, Jan. 27 and closes Saturday, February 12.

The Theme is Blackness Festival

The time is drawing near for the Durham/Duke, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern/Manbites Dog Theater collaboration: The Theme is Blackness Festival. Tickets available NOW!

Gil Faison, Utrophia Robinson and Regenna Rouse prepare for a fight in Night Beast by Ed Bullins.

Nov. 3-6 is the world premiere of Night Beast by Ed Bullins, directed by Jay O’Berski, Artistic Director of Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern.

On a dystopian Black planet, a Brother awakes to find himself in the midst of a civil war.

The show features Lakeisha Coffey, Gil Faison, Trevor Johnson, Utrophia Robinson, and Regenna Rouse. On opening night there will be a post-show discussion with playwright Ed Bullins moderated by Durham playwright Howard L. Craft.

You can find an interview with Jay about the Festival at behindthefringe.

Nov. 10-13 is the regional premiere of Harriet Jacobs by Lydia Diamond, directed by Dana Marks.

A lyrical, moving adaptation of Harriet Jacobs’ landmark American classic, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

The show features Hazel Edmond, Edward Evans, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Marilynn H. Rison, Tara-Whitney Rison, Justin Smith, and Amaris Whitaker. On opening night, Nov. 10, there will be a discussion with the playwright, moderated by Renee Alexander Craft.

There will be a video sneak-peek during these performances of Howard Craft’s Jade City Chronicles: Vol 1, a comic-book drama which will play at Manbites Dog in May of 2011.

The following is a trailer for the festival created by Jim Haverkamp.