Essential Theatre announces all-Georgia play festival for 2012
by Curt Holman, Creative Loafing
Next year, Essential Theatre celebrates its 25th year in existence by devoting its 2012 festival of new plays entirely to Georgia writers. As artistic director Peter Hardy explains, “The very first Essential production was in 1987 — two one acts performed at the Performance Gallery over a Halloween Weekend, starring Scott Higgs and Bill Murphy. We did maybe nine productions over the years, before starting the Festival (and incorporated) in 1999.”
The dates are still TBA (probably July at Actor’s Express), but the lineup includes the world premiere of Topher Payne’s Evelyn in Purgatory, a twist on The Breakfast Club in which five teachers await the results of a disciplinary case. Evelyn in Purgatory is the latest winner of the Essential Theatre Playwriting Award for Georgia writers.
In addition, Jordan Pulliam’s Bat-Hamlet envisions Shakespeare’s melancholy Dane as a costumed crimefighter. I can see that, as both brooding characters strives to avenge a parental murder. Does this make The Joker “a fellow of infinite jest and spirit?”
The last play on the list is The Local, “A collaborative theatre project about the City of Atlanta, by the writers of Atlanta, to be developed and directed by Ellen McQueen, award-winning director of Ice Glen and Sally and Glen at the Palace.”