Emmy-Award Winner Carrie Preston To Direct BUZZ At ASF

Buzz at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents the world premiere of Susan Ferrara's Buzz, September 4 - 15, 2019. Emmy Award-winning actor Carrie Preston returns to ASF to direct the provocative new play, which will be performed in an alternative space, ensuring that every performance is a unique experience for the audience.

Buzz is the story of charismatic, visionary director Mary Ann "Buzz" Goodbody, who was one of five women to direct theatre in the UK in the 1970s and the first woman to direct at the Royal Shakespeare Company, a prestigious organization and the ultimate boys' club. During her eight-year tenure at RSC, she developed plays in The Other Place, a small tin shack that lent itself to experimental productions. There, she famously directed a then-unknown Ben Kingsley in the title role of Hamlet, but four days after it opened, Buzz was gone.

"Susan [Ferrara]'s play epitomizes one of the main issues impacting women in our country right now: how to excel in what is still, remarkably, a man's world," said Preston. "We think of Buzz as a fighter, a trailblazer, a leader, and an iconoclast. Like so many of history's forgotten women, very few people have heard of her. Everyone knows Ben Kingsley. Why don't they know the name of the woman who helped put that man on the map? We want to remedy that."

Carrie Preston
Carrie Preston

Actor-director-producer Preston is best known for her roles on television. She played Arlene Fowler, the sassy, redheaded waitress in the Golden Globe-nominated True Blood and won an Emmy Award as the scatterbrained, genius lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni on The Good Wife. She currently stars in the TNT comedy-drama series Claws. A crucial role for Preston was Ophelia in Alabama Shakespeare Festival's 1994 production of Hamlet. It was there that she met her husband, Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Emerson, who was playing Guildenstern.

Preston describes her return to ASF 25 years later - to direct a play about a woman directing a production of Hamlet - as bringing things full circle. "I am thrilled to come back and share this story with the ASF audiences," she said.

Award-winning playwright Susan Ferrara is a three-time O'Neill semifinalist, and two-time New Dramatist and Leah Ryan finalist. Her script for Buzz has already garnered international acclaim: Winner, Hidden River Playwriting Award; Winner, Reverie Next Generation Playwriting Award; developmental readings with Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company and New York Theatre Workshop's Mondays @ 3 Series; Finalist, Baltic Writing Residency (Brora, Scotland); Semifinalist, Women's Project Lab; Honorable Mention, Jane Chambers Award.

Susan Ferrara
Susan Ferrara

"When Susan trusted me with this play, I knew that I had to honor Buzz's memory and stage the play in a nontraditional space," Preston commented. "Accustomed to going to the traditional main stages at ASF, our audiences will experience something magical and unexpected by watching a play in a space that never meant to be theatre."

The world premiere of Buzz will be presented in the ASF Scene Shop. General admission tickets are $50. To purchase, call 334.271.5353, stop by the ASF Box Office, or visit asf.net/buzz. Evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m.; matinees start at 2:00 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Seating for this unique theatrical experience is limited, so it is best to reserve early.


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