Theater

Christine Bernal

Live stage productions and plays can frustrate the deaf community. That’s why a pair of University of Georgia alumni decided to create their non-profit, Hands In! It’s a theater company in Athens that produces original plays in American Sign Language.

Hands In! co-founders and directors, Haley Beach and Amara Ede, want to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds by spreading awareness of ASL in dramatic media. Beach and Ede spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about their latest production, Wanderland. They also talked about their plans to expand on arts and culture for members of the deaf community. 


Courtesy Daniel Parvis

Most Americans say they know at least some of their neighbors, but admit they tend to interact less with neighbors who don't belong to the same class, race or political party, according to the Pew Research Center. So, when Tania del Valle and her husband Pablo move into the fixer-upper next door to Frank and Virginia Butley's historic home, a saga of microaggressions ensues.

Those racial, generational and economic tensions play out in Native Gardens, on stage this month at Lawrenceville's Aurora Theatre. Costars Fedra Ramirez-Olivares and Carolyn Cook, who portray Tania del Valle and Virginia Butley, respectively, joined On Second Thought in studio to share more about their production and the play's real-life parallels in Gwinnett County. 


courtesy of Synchronocity Theater

We hear stories about the sacrifices military spouses make. But the wife's perspective is rarely at the center. That's why playwright Aline Lathrop decided to highlight that angle in The Hero's Wife - a play that's showing at Synchronicity Theater in Atlanta. It's an intimate look at a couple dealing with the invisible wounds of combat.


The Masters begins tomorrow at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. It's among professional golf's most prestigious tournaments, bringing in big names like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Last week, the golf course made history, hosting its first women's tournament: the Augusta National Women's Amateur. On Second Thought spoke with Bob Harig, senior golf writer for ESPN who joined the program from Augusta, about what it took to get women on the famous green. Anya Alvarez, former Ladies Professional Golf Association player and women's sports journalist, also joined the conversation from New York.

 


Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company

Auto company General Motors recently announced it is shutting down production at five plants across North America, leaving thousands of workers without jobs. These real-world events are mirrored in the Atlanta production of "Skeleton Crew." The play follows a tight-knit group of workers at the only auto stamping plant left in Detroit at the height of the Great Recession.

 

Director of "Skeleton Crew" Jamil Jude visited "On Second Thought" to discuss the play. He's also the new artistic director for Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company. Jude shared how the play's themes around unionizing, sacrifice and job insecurity resonate with audiences today.

 

 

Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press

Atlanta native Chad Darnell hits the stage as Hedwig in a new Atlanta production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," opening at the Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre on Jan. 10. The musical tells the story of Hedwig Robinson, a genderfluid German rock singer who navigates love, loss and identity.

 

Darnell joined "On Second Thought" to discuss the musical's impact over 20 years after its off-Broadway debut and why he's excited to perform in front of Atlanta audiences.

 


Flickr/Marco Verch

The Atlanta theater company, Found Stages, is launching a new play with a twist: it reaches the audience through just text messages. Playwright Neeley Gossett and artistic director Nichole Palmietto hope to use the medium to engage with their audience. The play is a first-person story called, “The Year Without Summer.”  

Participants can join the story starting Monday, December 17.  After they sign up, they’ll receive several text messages from the characters for 30 days. The story will unfold in real-time, and subscribers will get more information each day. Click here for more information about “The Year Without Summer.”


It’s been two weeks since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence there renewed conversations about race relations, and have left some searching for answers on how to de-radicalize people. That’s something Shannon Martinez of Athens knows firsthand. She was a skinhead for several years, but managed to leave that life behind her.  We talk with her and Sammy Rangel of Life After Hate, a group that helps people move away from hate and violent extremism.

artsbridgega.org

Today, the nominations will be revealed for the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Shuler Hensley Awards.

Theatrical Outfit

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical “Hamilton” set a new standard in so-called “colorblind” casting when it filled the roles of America’s Founding Fathers with black and Latino actors. But before that show took Broadway by storm, Miranda wrote “In the Heights,” which brought to life the upper Manhattan community of Washington Heights.

kennyleon.com

For Georgians who love theater, watching the career arc of Kenny Leon has been thrilling. He’s now a Tony Award-winning director with numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions to his credit.

Biologists have studied animal intelligence for years, but primatologist Frans de Waal thinks humans are the ones not smart enough to understand animal intelligence and that we observe animal behavior with our own exceptionalism in mind. He bridges the dividing line between humans and animals in his new book "Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?" We speak with de Waal about his research into breadth of animal intelligence. 

 

Jessica Fern Hunt

How has Shakespeare managed to stay relevant for more than 450 years? His work's persistence is due in part to constant reinvention. An Atlanta Theater company breathes new life into Shakespeare by casting women to play traditionally male parts. We speak with actress Jennifer Acker of the Fern Theater about how an all-female cast contributes to our understanding of Shakespeare. Tim McDonough, chair of theater studies program at Emory University, also joins our discussion.

How To Sing Like A Southerner

Apr 11, 2016
BREEANNE CLOWDUS/COURTESY OF THEATRICAL OUTFIT

We’ve talked on the show about the history of y’all and how to lie like a Southerner… but how does one sing with a Southern accent? It’s a question tackled in the upcoming production of “The Light in the Piazza” at the Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta. The award-winning musical takes place in the 1950s and tells the story of a wealthy Southern woman and her disabled daughter on a trip to Italy.