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Horizon Theatre will open its season with "Every Brilliant Thing," an intimate play about things that make life worth living. In a 2019 production at Washington's Studio Theatre, actor Alexander Strain interacted with the audience. (Photo by Teddy Wolff)

Theater notes: Horizon’s belated return, Covid causing schedule changes, more

Having not staged a full-scale production in nearly two years due to Covid-19, Horizon Theatre has announced that it will launch its 38th season later this month with Every Brilliant Thing, a play about depression and resilience told in collaboration with the audience.  It will be presented with a reduced-capacity, in-the-round seating configuration at the Little Five Points theater with previews beginning January 28. The run is through February 27.

Resilience is also a capacity that Horizon is exhibiting by returning to present live theater even as some companies are postponing openings due to the virus surge caused by the Omicron variant.

With multiple safety precautions in place, co-artistic director Lisa Adler says she’s comfortable with Horizon Theatre’s decision to launch its season this month.

In September, when most other Atlanta troupes were scrambling to launch their fall seasons, Horizon co-artistic director Lisa Adler told ArtsATL, “We debated starting in the fall, but ultimately over the summer, we decided, let’s use this time to get organized so that we can come out of the pandemic in a better place than we left.”  .

The pandemic is still very much with us, but, with multiple safety precautions in place, Adler says she’s comfortable with the decision to return now.

“We planned for a small show in this timeframe to open the season to make sure we could be as safe as possible as we re-open — for actors, staff and audience,” she says.

Horizon has cast three actors to alternate in Every Brilliant Thing’s single role (and serve as backups for each other) — O’Neil Delapenha, Megan Hayes and Shelby Hofer. Two stage managers (both of whom already have had Covid) also will rotate in that job. Masks will be required in the theater (except for the one performer), and audience members must provide proof of vaccination. All actors and staff are boosted, Adler says, and testing is frequent. In addition to reducing  capacity, Horizon will assign seating to allow for greater distancing

“Theater is a live experience, and we are excited to be back for audiences who are longing to reconnect with live theater, especially with this funny and touching play that is all about connection, hope and resilience in the face of dark times,” Adler said. “I think we all can relate to that right now.”

Every Brilliant Thing indeed promises to be a spirit-lifter. In Duncan Macmillan’s script, a seven-year-old boy responds to his mother’s attempted suicide by starting a list of things to live for: No. 1 being ice cream; No. 2, water fights; and No. 3, staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. The list grows over the decades in the play, expanding to a million entries, and will grow even more with feedback from the Horizon audience, elicited by the three actors.

“This is not like any show I have ever seen before,” director Jeff Adler, Horizon’s co-artistic director has said. “It’s intimate and personal with the actor interacting directly with the audience before and during the play. Every night will be a different experience, with each actor and audience bringing their own stamp to the play.”

Following Every Brilliant Thing on Horizon’s schedule will be The Light, March 18-April 17; Roe, May 6-June 12; Square Blues, July 8-August 14; and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, September 30-November 6.

More on Horizon’s Covid protocols HERE. Tickets and information, HERE.

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Synchronicity Theatre has rescheduled its remounting of “Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds” from January to June.

Postponements, schedule juggling, more streaming

Due to the pandemic, Roswell’s Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET) has postponed its production of Vanity Fair, which was to have run January 6-23, joining companies such as Actor’s Express in pushing back shows and in the process juggling the remainder their of 2021–22 seasons. Instead, GET will present the Kate Hamill drama February 17 through March 6 in the slot originally set for Alabama Story, which will be rescheduled.

The Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage production of Dream Hou$e,  which was to have opened January 22 and is now scheduled for January 28 through February 13, also will be available to stream online February 11 to 27 on the Alliance’s website. Eliana Pipes’ 2022 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition winner follows two Latinx sisters selling their family home via an HGTV-style reality show. That’s before things take a surreal turn. Go HERE for more information and to purchase streaming tickets.

Synchronicity Theatre has rescheduled its remounting of the Family Series musical Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, which was to have opened January 28. The new dates are June 3-26. Synchronicity Stripped Bare Workshop performance of My Shell, My Shelter also has been pushed back, and is now planned for February 16.

Theatrical Outfit streams four new plays

CREAT june 2021
Theatrical Outfit will give Lee Osorio’s “A Most American Town” and three other plays free online readings, February 20-23

Theatrical Outfit, in partnership with Working Title Playwrights, will present digital readings of four new plays by four Atlanta playwrights over four evenings, February 20 through 23, during the Graham Martin Unexpected Play Festival 2022. The schedule, with capsule descriptions provided by the downtown theater troupe:

February 20:  A Most American Town by Lee Osorio. Set in Lumpkin, Georgia, this ghost story explores the plight of the residents of the ICE detention center, and one activist’s journey to make peace with the town’s past.

February 21: The Bullet by Keena Redding. A sharp and funny play about how politics can get between even the deepest friendships.

February 22: Web by Sharon Mathis. Set in the North Georgia mountains, this piece explores our relationship to nature, and the threat of climate change, through the story of three very different women and their plans for a colony of rare spiders.

February 23: A Complicated Hope by John Mabey. Set in the wake of a man’s death, his abandoned family and his lover try to find a way to heal together.

After each reading, the audience is encouraged to participate in a discussion led by Working Title Playwrights Managing Artistic Director Amber Bradshaw, aimed at providing  the writers immediate feedback to consider for their next draft.

The readings are free of charge, but reservations are encouraged HERE.

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