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The 2021 Essential Festival to Premiere Anthony Lamarr White's CALMING THE MAN

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Essential Theatre is back live this fall with the 2021 Essential Play Festival, featuring the world premiere productions of 2 award winning plays by Georgia playwrights.

The 2021 Essential Festival to Premiere Anthony Lamarr White's CALMING THE MAN

Essential Theatre is back live this fall with the 2021 Essential Play Festival, featuring the world premiere productions of two award winning plays by Georgia playwrights. Anthony Lamarr White's Calming the Man, directed by Brenda Porter, premieres during the festival, opening on Friday, November 12, 2021 at 8pm at the West End Performing Arts Center (945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310). Lamarr's Calming the Man is co-winner of the 2021 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award, along with Erin K. Considine's Raising the Dead. Both plays run in repertory now through November 21.

Calming the Man takes place in the summer of the American Bicentennial, less than a decade after integration in Greenville, Florida. A self-described "play about the anger and violence that cripple us," the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Play Festival reflects that "this new work from Anthony Lamarr never, not for a second, feels safe; explosions always seem imminent, the air is thick with unspoken threats."

Before being selected for production as part of the 2021 Essential Theatre Play Festival, Calming the Man was selected for the prestigious Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab Fellowship at the Alliance Theatre in 2017-18, the 2017 Leimert Park Readers Theatre Festival in Los Angeles, presented by Atlanta's New African Grove Theatre Company and the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival in 2015, and the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival's Readers Theatre of New Works. Most recently, the play and playwright were featured in FAMU Essential Theatre's Writing for Life series in February of this year.


After multiple readings and workshops spanning several years, it will receive its first full production as part of the 2021 Essential Theatre Play Festival here in Atlanta, GA. "I'm on a cloud," says Lamarr. "This play has been years in the making, and to finally see it a fully staged production is unbelievable."

Lamarr shares about his inspiration for this play that "Growing up in a small North Florida town, I noticed how many small, southern towns had a railroad track running through it that racially separated the town. Growing up on one side of the tracks versus the other sometimes meant that life looked incredibly different given varying socio-economic realities and segregation between races.
I wanted to write a story about that. I wanted to do a play that was set in the 1970s after segregation and integration. African Americans felt they were going to finally be seen as equal, but it didn't turn out that way. I think in that is the root of the angry black man myth. Black people became angrier because even though they weren't segregated, there was still inequality."

The Festival features all local talent, working to serve and contribute to the Atlanta arts scene. Saturday night's Neighborhood Night performance features a post-show conversation with the playwright and cast.

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

Performance Schedule:

Wednesday November 10 - 8pm Preview performance
Friday November 12 - 8pm Opening Night
Saturday November 13 - 8pm Neighborhood Night, including post-show conversation with the playwright and cast
Sunday November 14 - 7pm
Monday November 15 - 8pm Industry Night
Saturday November 20 - 8pm
Sunday November 21 - 2pm

Cast:

Daddyo: Sundiata Rush
Killpretty: John Doyle, Jr.
Tracey: Anthony Nash
Michael: Kourage Cooper

Artistic Team:
Playwright: Anthony Lamarr White
Director: Brenda Porter
Dramaturg: Jayla Myers
Stage Manager: Kayla Brooke

Assistant Stage Manager: Rebecca Lovett
Fight Choreographer: Mia Kristin Smith
Scenic Designer: Gabrielle S. Stephenson
Lighting Designer: Harley Gould
Sound Designer: Kimberly Harding
Costume Designer: Ladisa Banks
Propsmaster: Courtney Loner

Original Music Arrangement: Tasha Smith

The 2021 Essential Play Festival runs from November 5-21 at the West End Performing Arts Center (945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310) in Atlanta's Historic West End, Essential Theatre's home since 2014. COVID restrictions including mask and vaccine requirements, reduced seating capacity, and enhanced air purification and cleaning practices will be in place to ensure artists and patrons alike have a safe and enjoyable time at the theatre.

Full COVID Policy: EssentialTheatre.com/experience/2021-festival/covid-safety-policy

To purchase tickets: EssentialTheatre.tix.com


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