One of the cool things about Atlanta is all the local playwrights, and the opportunity to perform their work with the playwright in the audience. That was the case with Evelyn In Purgatory by Topher Payne. Mr. Payne is a good friend of Becca Parker, the artistic director of the theatre, and he showed up for a matinee.
But I get ahead of myself.
Evelyn In Purgatory is the story of Evelyn Reid, a New York City school teacher who finds herself awaiting a disciplinary hearing with a bunch of other castoffs from the public school system. The play was staged by Live Arts Theatre, directed by Becca Parker and D Norris, and featuring (among others) me as Lila Wadkins, an erstwhile hippie-turned-art-teacher awaiting her own hearing for, ahem, insubordination.
I was a little apprehensive about doing another show at Live Arts after the hell that was Virginia Woolf, but this production suffered none of the setbacks and roadblocks that plagued that show. Thank the theatre gods for small mercies. (Incidentally, that production of Woolf has now entered local theatre lore. I can’t even count how many actors/techies I’ve met since the show closed who, once they find out I was in it, come back with “Oooooooh! I heard about that…” But I digress.)
Evelyn‘s rehearsals ran smoothly and efficiently, direction and notes were clear and straightforward, and the directors were able to accommodate my conflicts because I was rehearsing and performing the Tapas festival at the same time. The best thing, though, is my character was a knitter. I spent the majority of my on-stage time with knitting needles in my hand. It was fabulous.
Once we opened, we had great audiences, and even sold out a couple of performances. We got this glowing review from a local director, and we were nominated for several awards.
Last Saturday was the Live Arts Theatre awards ceremony, also known as “The Livelys.” Much to our surprise, we won! A lot! Five awards went to our production:
Best Supporting Actor: Rodney L. Johnson
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cat Roche
Best Director: Becca Parker and D Norris
Best Ensemble: Evelyn in Purgatory
Favorite Production: Evelyn in Purgatory
All in all, a much better experience than my last at Live Arts. I’ll go back there again. Assuming they’ll have me.