Play

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.”

Wonder Woman is perhaps the most well-known female superhero. She is the inspiration for the play 'Behind the Boots' put on by the Summer Sisters. It explores the history and significance of Wonder Woman.
Mark Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Wonder Woman is an iconic superhero best known for her battle skills and formidable weapons. The Amazonian warrior princess is often seen with her Lasso of Truth, invisible airplane and indestructible bracelets. She first appeared in comic books in 1941, but her image and character has since soared far beyond the page.

Triangle-based theater group Summer Sisters used the pop-culture icon as inspiration for a new experimental theater piece called “Behind the Boots.” It explores the connections between heroism, feminism, truth, justice, and their own everyday lives.

Runaways, The Musical

Jul 14, 2015
Image of several actors who will be in the play 'Runaways.' Raleigh Little Theatre is producing 'Runaways,' a former Broadway musical about teenagers who run away from home.
Curtis Brown

In the late 1970s, Elizabeth Swados created the musical "Runaways" based on interviews with runaway teens in New York City. Though the play is nearly four decades old, the issues surrounding teen homelessness persist.

Raleigh Little Theatre is partnering with Haven House Services to present the musical, "Runaways," as part of the theater's Teen Summer Conservatory. The play opens Friday and runs through July 26.

Oakwood Lives!

May 27, 2015
Image of actors George Jack and Greg Paul performing in a production of Oakwood Lives!
Burning Coal Theatre

Oakwood Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 20,000 citizens, including notable community members and prominent state and national leaders. A collaboration between Burning Coal Theatre and Oakwood Cemetery honors the stories of some of the deceased each year through staged production.

Marbles Kids Museum
the museum

It's getting crowded at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

Sally Edwards is president of the private not-for-profit. She says the museum built to accommodate 175,000 visitors a year, but now hosts 450,000.

“There are days that there are more people at the museum playing than the museum was designed to accommodate. So we really look forward to the opportunity to identify ways where we can expand, so the visitors who want to come and play and learn at Marbles have more room to spread out while they're here.”

Theatre In The Park

A new play premiering at Raleigh's Theatre In The Park encourages viewers to question their notions of love, truth and sexuality. 

Image of The company of the Burning Coal Theatre Company production of David Edgar’s Pentecost
Jason Dail

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
Image of Roger Guenveur Smith in his solo show, "Rodney King"
Patti McGuire

Rodney King gained overnight notoriety when videos surfaced of him being violently beaten by Los Angeles police officers. 

PearlDamour

  There are more than 20 towns and cities in the United States named Milton—from the 200-person Milton, North Carolina, to the 25,000-person suburb of Boston called Milton, Massachusetts.

Kids Writing Plays

May 30, 2014
Aaron Bridgman

Raleigh's Burning Coal Theatre Company premieres five new one-act plays written by high school students this weekend as part of KidsWrite, a festival that provides young writers the opportunity to get their work professionally produced, acted and directed.

A drawing of four girls in diverse clothing
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For a teenager, a diary can be a safe haven. It is a place to share thoughts that one would never speak aloud. But The Diary Play: Four Teens Tell Their Story brings those intimate details to light. Based on the teenage journals of four women who are now adults, the play asks questions about self-censorship and the boundaries between adults and young people.

Diaries cover everything from the monumental to the mundane. From tests and papers to crushes and self-esteem, it's all in there.

Alan Dehmer

Last week as Shakespeare fans around the world celebrated his 450th birthday, Durham's Manbites Dog Theater opened a modern adaptation of his last masterpiece, The Tempest.