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June 2, 2016

What's Happening in Local Theater This Weekend

Friendlys.jpg

Photo Credit: Dina Canup

Friendly's Fire

Our Town It’s the final weekend of an American classic at Winder Barrow Community Theatre, directed by Léland Downs Karas. Thornton Wilder’s Our Town won a Pulitzer Prize in 1938; when it was revived in 1989 it won a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award. The masterfully metatheatrical script sets the play in a theater rather than a place, though the theater stands for a fictional town called Grover’s Corners.

The character of the Stage Manager (Murray Weed, who is often seen at Town & Gown) breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience as he observes and comments on the story of Emily Webb (Laura Blankenship), who we see grow from a precocious young girl to a bride and beyond with George Gibbs (Brent Lowe), the mischievous boy next door who evolves into a husband, father, and farmer over time.

It’s not merely a sentimental play about the simpler “good old days” but an examination of life, which can get bleak at times (the three acts are named “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Dying” after all) but should be treasured in every passing moment. Be sure to catch this show before the moment passes.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, is at the Colleen O. Williams Theater in the the Winder Cultural Arts Center Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. with a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, June 5. Tickets are $15 ($12.50 in advance), $13 ($10 in advance) for seniors, teachers, and students, and available at 770-867-1679 or winderbarrowtheatre.org.

Friendly’s Fire This one is not a fully produced show but a staged reading of a new play by off-off Broadway playwright and UGA professor John Patrick Bray in conjunction with Athens Playwrights Workshop. The actors will have scripts in hand and there are no sets/costumes/props/blocking, offering a radically stripped-down opportunity to experience a quirky, funny, and at times heartbreaking play performed by some top-notch actors who are bringing their A-game to a brilliant script.   

A Gulf War veteran and bee herder, Guy Friendly (Scotty Gannon), has become a recluse in his remote Alaskan cabin. He has just ventured out and picked up a hot punky girl (Lauren Walman) for NSA sex… but then things go horribly wrong. His friend Todd (Fred Galyean) arrives after the girl has left Friendly drugged and delirious. Todd plays along with Frendly’s fever dream in an effort to help him to the other side of grief and a bad trip. Along the way, they encounter characters such as Moss Pete, Polar Bear and Santa Claus (John Phillip Buisman), the Poacher, Dr. Dennis and Friendly’s brother Jason, who died in the war (John Terry), while Queen Bee (April Boyer Brown) plays her part. With stage directions read by Lukas Woodyard, the playwright himself is nearly an additional character as well.

It’s directed—full disclosure!—by me, Dina Canup, who has rarely taken the director’s chair in recent years after having formerly directed, performed, and served with Town & Gown Players for several years. The reading is free, and it’s followed by a dance party hosted by an alumnus of UGA theater, DJ L.A. Darius (formerly DJ Kayez). He’s an interactive entertainer who’s been turning up the dance floors of Athens for a few years and spins a mix of dance, hip hop, Latin, top 40 and dance hall beats. That part of the night starts around 10 p.m. and should be more than worth the $5 cover.    

Friendly's Fire, by John Patrick Bray, is at Flicker Bar Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Followed by L.A. Darius Dance Party at 10 p.m. with $5 admission. For more information, email dinacanup@gmail.com or click here.

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