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Image from Beertown production
Daniel R. Winters Photography

As the 2016 general election draws closer, conversations about what is important to American voters become increasingly polarized. These conversations also tend to happen in silos within particular partisan, academic, or journalistic circles.

Scene from Downrange: Voices from the Homefront
Cape Fear Regional Theatre

For families in the military, a life of service can mean long periods of separation. While service members put themselves on the front lines, spouses must sustain a commitment to their country to persevere on the homefront.

The new play, Downrange: Voices From The Homefront, showcases the stories of the ones who wait at home for their loved ones to return and the challenges they face when service members come home.

KJ Sanchez explores her hometown's history in her play 'Highway 47.' A feud over the rights to the communally shared land fractured the community, and her father was in the middle of it all.
Ania Sodziak

In 1734 Spain gave a land grant to 30 families in Tomé, New Mexico. The community collectively owned the land for years, but in 1967, a feud erupted over who had rights to what—decades of lawsuits ensued and the town fractured as a result.

A man named Gillie Sanchez was at the center of many of these lawsuits and feuds that ran into the 1990s.

Starting from the middle-top and moving clockwise, Thomasi McDonald as Dad, Amy White as Kimber, TJ Swann as Flip, Tosin Olufolabi as Cheryl, Marcus Zollicoffer as Kent and Moriah Williams as Taylor.
Curtis Brown Photography

When the LeVay family gathers at its Martha’s Vineyard home for the weekend, brothers Kent and Flip are excited to introduce their new partners to their parents. But like many planned family vacations, things quickly go awry—tensions rise and secrets are revealed.

This is the premise for Lydia Diamond’s play “Stick Fly,” that examines race, privilege, and the lesser-known history of affluent African-American culture on Martha’s Vineyard.

Bob Matthews on the left with Silhouettes of Service interviewer Jeff Goldberg
Gregory DeCandia

Frequently in television shows and blockbuster movies, actors portray the experiences of military service men and women. But rarely do audiences experience these visceral stories on a theatrical stage.

The festival "Veterans and Their Families", sponsored by the Department of Communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will showcase three plays by local playwrights inspired by stories from the homefront and the front lines.

Rob Jansen stars in the one-man play, 'The Tramp's New World,' which envisions a post-apocalytic world for Charlie Chaplin's character, 'Tramp.'
Manbites Dog Theater

Charlie Chaplin’s most well-known on-screen character was the “Tramp,” a bumbling man whose humor and playfulness guided audiences through some of the darkest periods of the early 20th century. After the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, renowned journalist and film critic James Agee urged Chaplin to bring back the Tramp. He wrote a screenplay and sent it to Chaplin, insisting that the Tramp’s humor and grace were essential to help the world heal from this tragedy. Chaplin declined, and the play faded mostly into oblivion.

Picture of the cast from 'Beautiful Star'
Triad Stage

The holiday season brings with it many revered holiday performances like "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol." These stories are cherished and familiar.

"Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity" retells the well-known Christmas story through a humorous and intimate Appalachian lens. The performance returns to the Triad Stage in celebration of the venue's 15th anniversary. 

(L-R) Evan Johnson as Peter and Mitchell Jarvis as Black Stache in 'Peter and the Starcatcher'
Jon Gardiner

Before Peter Pan flew to Neverland with Wendy and fought Captain Hook, he was simply an unnamed orphan searching for his place in the world.

In the prequel to “Peter Pan,” Peter befriends a girl named Molly, forms a group called the Lost Boys and battles a villain named Black Stache. “Peter and the Starcatcher” gives the origins of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Neverland, Tinker Bell and more. 

Survivors of a civilization-ending apocalypse manage to salvage fragments of their cultural history.
Emily Levinstone

The Simpsons is the kind of show that people watch over and over. Many episodes continue to linger in popular culture no matter how many years have passed since they originally aired.

But what would happen if suddenly all The Simpsons episodes and all other media and technology were gone and all that remained were people’s memories of what they think they heard or saw?

Trieu Tran in 'Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam,' performed Sept. 17-Oct 6, 2013 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.
Craig Schwartz

Trieu Tran has overcome immense challenges in his life as a refugee from the Vietnam War. His journey to America was sustained on the hope and promise of freedom. But when he arrived, his life was not nearly as glamorous.

Meanwhile, Tran struggled to understand his identity as a refugee in America. He took up acting, eventually landing roles in movies like “Tropic Thunder” and the award-winning TV series “The Newsroom.”

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