Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

The Justice Theater Project presents “Our Planet. Our People. Our Plight.” 2011-12 Season

The 2011-12 season “Our Planet. Our People. Our Plight” – stewardship of the environment, opens with the Tony award winning musical “The Secret Garden”. Three productions are woven around themes surrounding the effect of environmental degradation, and the transformative effects of restoration. The programming season also includes the institution of an annual piece not associated with the season’s theme, “Black Nativity” by Langston Hughes.

The Secret Garden”

Music book and lyrics by Marsha Norman

Music by Lucy Simon

Directed by Deb Royals

September 9 – 25, 2011.

Clare Hall Fellowship Center on the campus of The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh. www.thejusticetheaterproject.org

Based on the beloved book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Justice Theater Project begins a year long discussion about the environment by producing this powerful story and its message with regard to healing transformation.

Mary Lennox is a lonely little girl who is sent to live with her uncle Archibald in Yorkshire after being orphaned by a cholera epidemic in India. Still grieving over the loss of his beloved wife Lily who died ten years earlier during childbirth and distraught over the condition of his bedridden son, Archibald casts a dark shadow over the manor until Mary discovers a secret garden that had once belonged to Lily. By nursing this garden back to life, Mary restores life to her grieving uncle, and to his son. This piece begins a season long dialogue about the possibility of life and healing in all environments.

Tom Wolf, Associate Scenographer, describes the production and specific set design. “The Secret Garden has one of the largest casts ever staged by JTP. Because of our trademark intimate staging style, this is a wonderful challenge to work all of the characters in and around our audience without overwhelming them. Due to our flexibility, you will see a new venue layout that really brings it all together.

Many productions of this show use a super-realistic set design to implement the famous garden scenes. We’ve chosen to go with a more symbolic set design to focus attention onto the actors and the story. Instead of a traditional proscenium design, our set is distributed through the entire space, allowing the actors many entrance/exit points and close interaction with the audience.

This show, with the “ghost” chorus , presents wonderful opportunities for dramatic lighting. The interplay of the “live, present” juxtaposed with the “dead, past” is enhanced by careful control of both the color and direction of the lighting, done mostly with energy efficient LED lighting.” Costumes will be era authentic.

Directed by Deb Royals, Scenography by Shannon Clark, Tom Wolf, and Nora Murphy, Stage Management by Leanne Norton Heintz, and Technical Assistance and Assistant Stage Management by Andrew LaPointe.

Woven into this production is a dance ensemble comprised of local Indian dancers. Artistic Director Deb Royals describes the dance ensemble: “The Dance techniques used for the choreography of “The Secret Garden” are based on South Indian Classical Dance form called Kuchipudi. Working with The Secret Garden production team is Indian Choreographer Prathima Chintala. She is an Indian Classical Dancer, trained in South Indian Classical Dance. She has performed in both India and United States. She won Best talent and Most Photogenic titles in Mrs. India North Carolina contest held in Sept 2009 by Miss India North Carolina (http://missindianc.us) and was First Runner Up in the Mrs India Category. Prathima is part of the professional dance group, Aakrisht, lead by The PRESIDENT AWARD winner Mr. Sanjib Bhattacharya and well known Kathak dancer in North Carolina, Mrs. Rinku Bhattacharya. She studies and performs Indian contemporary dance forms and Manipuri Dance form from Mr. Sanjibji and perform at various events held in United States and will be performing with the Indo-American Arts Council in New York City this month. She also studied basics of Jazz/Modern at Ninth Street Dance.”

The issues of care and stewardship of the environment will be addressed during three nights of pre-show discussions and events. On Saturday night, September 17th at 7:30 p.m. representatives from NC Warn will engage the audience in a conversation about the way in which our care of environment and resources – or lack of it — enriches lives far beyond our back door, and how we can all make small changes that will have a restorative impact on our environment. www.ncwarn.org

On Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 at 7:30 pm, Duke University students currently participating in Performance for Social Change classes will lead the audience in exercises designed to create insight into our personal response to the environment.

The Justice Theater Project (JTP) is an advocacy and activist theater company whose mission is to use the performing arts to bring to the fore of public attention the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. Each year JTP presents a diverse combination of original works, main stage productions, and community outreach events focusing on issues of social justice.

“The Secret Garden” will be performed on September 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24 at 8:00 p.m. and September 11, 18 and 25 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for Adults, $15 for students and senior citizens, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. All seating is general admission. Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m. is $10.00 admission day. (919)264-7089. www.TheJusticeTheaterProject.org

Special events:

  • Friday, September 9 – Opening Night – Join us for a Complimentary after show reception
  • Sunday, September 11 – 2:00 pm $10.00 Matinee
  • Saturday, September 17 – 7:30 pm Pre show discussion with NC Warn
  • Sunday, September 18 – Free babysitting services for the first 20 children registered sponsored by SEED Raleigh www.Seedraleigh.org
  • Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 -7:30 Pre show discussion Duke University Students
  • Sunday, September 25 – 2:00 pm Audio Described Performance provided by Arts Access

2011-12 Season of Shows and a New Holiday Tradition for your family!

December 16 – 18, 2011 “Black Nativity” by Langston Hughes. Saint Mary’s School, Raleigh. The Justice Theater Project brings a new offering to the downtown Raleigh holiday theatre scene – the beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of Saint Luke, with the lyrical verse and poetry of Langston Hughes, including gospel music and dance. Featuring a multi-cultural chorus that includes members of the community. Bring the entire family and begin a new holiday tradition.

February 10 – 26, 2012 – “Molly Daughter” by Deb Randall. Music by Alan Scott. Featuring Deb Royals. A one-woman show set to the music of Appalachia, “Molly Daughter” beckons you back to 1875 to a small Pennsylvania town in the anthracite coal mines.

A product of deep research and insight in the conspiracy and cover up of the Molly Maguires story and the conditions in the anthracite coal mines, “Molly Daughter” tells the story of a large multi-generational Irish family in Wiggan’s Patch, PA, where 20 men were legally executed in 1877. Randall’s focus is on the women of the household, surviving and raising families while their bread winning and politically powered men are executed. This hauntingly beautiful show will have you come away asking many questions about our countries history and current need for energy, how we get it, and what we are willing to sacrifice to have it.

Clare Hall Fellowship Center on the campus of The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh. www.thejusticetheaterproject.org

June 8 – 24, 2012. “Light on the Horizon” by Deb Royals. An original play based on a series of interviews of residents of the Gulf of Mexico communities impacted by the largest offshore oil spill in US history.

These interviews expose the depths of the grief, desperation, and anger of those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico, and who’s communities have been devastated by loss of livelihood from reductions of tourism, loss of fishing revenue, and elimination of many oil industry jobs. The play will remind us, dramatically and personally, of the continuing, tangible effects that our failure to steward the natural world has on individuals and communities, even after the headlines are forgotten.

Clare Hall Fellowship Center on the campus of The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh. www.thejusticetheaterproject.org