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Actors Bridge's 20th Anniversary Continues with THE NETHER Tonight

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Jessika Malone directs Actors Bridge Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Season's upcoming production of Jennifer Haley's The Nether, opening tonight, December 4 at the new Actors Bridge Studio at the Darkhorse Chapel, 4610 Charlotte Avenue (entrance on 47th Avenue).

The Actors Bridge production of The Nether stars artistic director Vali Forrister as Detective Morris, Phil Perry as Mr. Doyle, Rodney Pickel as Mr. Sims, Robin August Fritsch as Iris and Bralyn Stokes as Mr. Woodnut.

The Nether is described as a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination. The Nether is both a serpentine crime drama and haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of living out our private dreams. Suspenseful, ingeniously constructed, and fiercely intelligent, Haley's play forces us to confront deeply disturbing questions about the boundaries of reality.

Robin August Fritsch as Iris (and Vali Forrister as
Detective Morris)
- photos by Wesley Duffee-Braun

Actors Bridge's production team is led by technical director Mitch Massaro and lighting designer Richard Davis, who together embrace the unique architecture of the Darkhorse Chapel, built in 1902, as a core component of the scenic design. The space will function as a futuristic internet cafe. Patrons will choose an avatar identity upon entry, and the action of the play will take place among them, Malone explains.

"In seating our audiences cabaret style as they watch the story unfold across an alley arrangement between them, we are bringing our community face to face with their neighbors, a kind of interaction which has nearly ceased to exist in the future described in The Nether and is becoming all too rare in our current times as well," suggests Malone.

The Nether premiered Spring 2013 in Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre. A London production opened Summer 2014 at the Royal Court with Headlong, transferring to the West End with Sonia Friedman Productions in Winter 2015. MCC produced the play in Winter 2015 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York.

About the Playwright: Jennifer Haley is a playwright whose work delves into ethics in virtual reality and the impact of technology on our human relationships, identity, and desire. She won the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play, The Nether, produced in Los Angeles, off-Broadway, and on London's West End. Other plays include Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, a horror story about suburban video game addiction, and Froggy, a noir thriller with interactive media design and a live soundtrack. Jennifer has worked with Center Theatre Group, Royal Court Theatre, Headlong, Sonia Friedman Productions, the Humana Festival of New Plays, American Conservatory Theater, The Banff Centre, Sundance Theatre Lab, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark Play Development Center, PlayPenn, and Page 73. She is a member of New Dramatists in New York City and lives in Los Angeles, where she founded the Playwrights Union.

About Actors Bridge Ensemble: For the last 20 years, Actors Bridge has been a force on Nashville's cultural landscape. As an actor training program, we have worked with over 4000 students who have gone on to perform on local, regional and national stages as well as film and television. There are few local productions that do not include a performer in some way influenced by Actors Bridge training. As a professional theatre company, our mission is to tell the stories that impact our community by producing provocative and socially relevant theatre, creating new theatrical works, showcasing emotionally authentic ensemble acting and fostering a nurturing environment for theatre artists at any stage in their professional development to take creative risks. We have produced over 80 plays, including 14 world premieres and 45 Nashville premieres. Some notable Nashville premieres include The Laramie Project, The Vagina Monologues, Never the Sinner, Next Fall, Blackbird and 100 Saints You Should Know. The company is led by co-founder Vali Forrister.

Tickets: General Admission - $25 in advance; $30 at the door; go to thenether.eventbrite.com for tickets. For more information about Actors Bridge, go to www.actorsbridge.org.


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