TACT Announces Post-Show Discussion Series for NATURAL AFFECTION
TACT/The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Jenn Thompson, Co-Artistic Directors), the critically-acclaimed company "dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit," and named "2012 Company of the Year" by Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal, have announced a series of post performance discussions to follow select performances of its production of Natural Affection by William Inge. TACT Co-Artistic Director Jenn Thompson directs.
In Natural Affection, a troubled young man, who, abandoned early in life by his single mother returns from reform school to find her now living with a lover. As the tension between them mounts, their fight for forgiveness and connection gives way to desperation, setting this insecure family on a collision course of reckless, heartbreaking and almost inevitable violence.
In addition to regularly scheduled talk-backs with the director and cast following every Sunday 2pm matinee performance of Natural Affection, the company will present a unique talk-back series with a panel of experts who will discuss the various themes addressed in the play, as well as the significant contribution made by William Inge, one of our country's greatest playwrights, as we celebrate the centennial of his birth.
The series is as follows:
Friday, September 27 (immediately following the 8:00pm performance)
VIOLENCE AND THE 1960S: Natural Affection IN THE CONTEXT OF PLACE AND TIME: A CONVERSATION WITH Gigi Bolt AND Jackson Bryer
In his preface to the published text of Natural Affection, William Inge wrote, "In my play, I wanted to expose some of the atmosphere in our lives that creates violence." Both chronicler and seer, Inge depicted and foreshadowed the yearning, confusion, anger and brutality that burst forth in the 1960s amidst rapidly shifting societal forces. Some of the battles in Natural Affection are physical, while others are of the heart and psyche. The play, which was met with consternation in its time, stands today as a striking reflection of Inge's unwavering truthfulness and extraordinary moral and spiritual insight.
Kansas native Gigi Bolt, former Director of Theatre and Musical Theatre at the National Endowment for the Arts and currently Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and Jackson R. Bryer, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Maryland and Director of the Conference segment of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, will discuss how Natural Affection reflects its time and place even as it presaged the future.
Friday, October 4 (immediately following the 8:00pm performance)
THE TRIUMPHANT BUT TROUBLED LIFE OF William Inge:
A CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER BRAM
To the outside world, William Inge was one of America's most popular and celebrated playwrights, with plays such as Come Back Little Sheba, Picnic, Bus Stop and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Plagued by inner demons, however, he struggled with alcoholism and homosexuality, weaving many of his emotions and feelings into his work up until his death by suicide in 1973.
Join New York University writing professor and celebrated author Christopher Bram (Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, as well as Father of Frankenstein, the novel that was made into the Academy-Award winning movie Gods and Monsters) as he discusses Inge's contributions to the theater, as well as the explicit and implicit themes of many of his works, including Natural Affection.
Friday, October 11 (immediately following the 8:00 pm performance)
THEATER CRITICISM IN THE DIGITAL AGE:
A CONVERSATION WITH William Wolf
If a play opens on Broadway and nobody knows it, what are its chances of success? That's the unfortunate situation faced by Natural Affection when it opened in January 1963 in the middle of a four-month-long newspaper strike in New York City that ultimately contributed to the play's brief run.