Theatre UAB’s enormously popular festival features new plays that are off the grid in originality. This year’s theme is “Tales of Gods and Monsters.” Smart, edgy, shrewd, shocking and often hilarious, this is a night of theater the audience will discuss long after the curtain closes.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly March 10-14, with a 2 p.m. show Saturday, March 15, in the Odess Theatre at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. All tickets are $5; attendees should arrive early as this festival always sells out. Plays contain adult language and themes. Call 205-975-2787 for tickets. Visit Theatre UAB at www.uab.edu/theatre.
The plays are written, directed and acted by students, staff and faculty. The festival is produced by Lee Shackleford. Each year a theme emerges, Shackleford says, whether one is intended or not. Theatre UAB Program Manager Mel Christian suggested “Gods and Monsters,” a pivotal phrase in the 1935 film “Bride of Frankenstein.”
“She was right — that’s the common factor in these eight scripts,” Shackleford said.
Seven of these plays were chosen from among the many scripts written in Shackleford’s playwriting class last year. The eighth came from outside the class: Theatre UAB’s Prop Master J. Marc Quattlebaum.
“I don’t want to give away too much; but it fits the ‘Gods and Monsters’ motif perfectly and, I think, is truly hilarious at the same time,” he said.
“It’s always fascinating to see what happens when a group of talented writers is given 10 minutes in which to tell a complete story.”
“It’s always fascinating to see what happens when a group of talented writers is given 10 minutes in which to tell a complete story,” Shackleford said. “This time there were very funny light comedies and some deeply moving tragedies. I chose a few of both. When I choose the student scripts that I think would work best together in the festival, some kind of a common thread always appears. This year they’re all either about people behaving in truly horrifying ways to other people or about people coming into confrontation with a higher power or both.”
The festival will include “Reunion” by Equiller Taylor, “Double Standard” by Leah Eiland, “God Talk” by Gwen Pate, “Costa del Muerto” by Kevin Peek, “Bible Study” by Ellis Wilson Oswalt and Mel Christian, “Daddy Issues” by Garan Tinsley, “All the Little Lights” by Lawrence J. Smith, and “Humpback” by Quattlebaum.
Directors include seniors Brenna Clark and Garan Tinsley; Christian, who is also a respected local director; and Shackleford. Each will direct two plays. Sophomore Jessica L. Mathews is the festival manager.