The shows and groups for the 13th annual Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) has been announced. The one-act productions by eight companies will run on a rotating schedule at the Bath House Cultural Center for four weeks in July and August.
Echo Theatre and WingSpan Theatre Company, the only two groups that have been in every FIT, are returning, as are recent festival regulars Churchmouse Producutions (an offshoot of Pegasus Theatre), One-Thirty Productions, Rite of Passage Theatre Company and Second Thought Theatre. New to FIT this year are Upstart Productions and a new group, MaCa Latin Theatrical Group. Also of note, Dallas Theater Center's Lee Trull will direct the Second Thought show, which is by local playwright and actor Eric Steele, who is one of the reasons the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff has made a successful return.
Festival passes are $49 (two weeks) and $69 (four weeks), and individual performance blocks are $12-16. Tickets go on sale June 20 by calling 800-617-6904.
Here's the 2011 lineup:
Churchmouse Productions – Squirrels by David Mamet
Arthur and Edmond are two writers chasing the perfect story. Perpetually eluded, they become trapped in an existential cycle that can only be broken with the help of a cantankerous cleaning lady who helps them get to the bottom of Arthur’s fascination with squirrels. An absurdist one-act from an American master, directed by Chad Cline.
Echo Theatre – Juha and Me by Sylvia Whitman
This exploration of social myths gives us Juha, beloved star of countless Arabic tales and fables. Appearing variously as preacher and beggar, thief and honest man, wise man and fool, his life lessons have inspired generations of Middle Easterners. Told in the commedia dell’ arte style and infused with bright and charming humor, the stories, though Islamic in nature transcend national and cultural boundaries and achieve an instantly recognizable humanity. Adapted and Directed by Kelly Thomas.
MaCa Latin Theatrical Group – La Danza de Terpsicore by Frederico Roca
The story of Eloisa, a dancer coming to terms with the aging of her body. In the last moments of her life, she is joined by her dancer self and together her body and spirit relive the greatest moments of Eloisa’s life. A beautiful story of artistic expression, the cycles of life and our connection to the world, La Danza de Terpsicore, though performed entirely in Spanish, is a visually compelling feast, full of high drama and profound imagery that is sure to delight audience members of all tongues, directed by Frank Ayala, Jr.
One-Thirty Productions – The Madness of Lady Bright by Lanford Wilson
Often hailed as the first major work in the gay theatre movement and the first notable Off-Off Broadway play, Lanford Wilson’s austere work follows the titular Lady Bright, aging drag queen, descending into madness, as she indulges in the ritual that has become the donning of her persona for perhaps the very last time. Frequent One Thirty collaborator Larry Randolph stars as Lady Bright in this emotionally charged work directed by Morganna Shaw.
Rite of Passage Theatre Co. – The Love Song of the Albanian Sous Chef by Robert Askins.
When Eddie, the homely and meek Albanian sous chef of a rundown urban restaurant realizes it’s his one and only chance to make known his unrequited love for sexy Bulgarian waitress, Billy, he orchestrates an elaborate love song in the language he knows best: food. With the help of singing oysters, a sweet-talking plate of Ravioli and Nico, the crass Mexican busboy, Eddie hopes to win the affection of his love and prove that the way to one’s heart, really is through the stomach. A musical and culinary delight co-directed by Cassie Bann and Rite of Passage Artistic Director Clay Wheeler.
Second Thought Theatre – Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self by Eric Steele
Meet Bob Birdnow, husband, father, community leader, motivational speaker, pilot. As Bob recounts the harrowing tale of the plane crash that killed his family and friends, he is forced to examine the connection between our survival mechanism and our greater purpose, as human beings. A seemingly bleak, yet ultimately hopeful tale that reminds us that pain and tragedy often lights the way to salvation. Venerated Dallas performer Barry Nash stars in this one man piece, directed by the Dallas Theater Center’s Lee Trull.
Upstart Productions – W.A.S.P. by Steve Martin
Steve Martin drops a bomb on the nuclear family in this thoughtful yet irreverent look at 1950’s suburban life. Eulogizing the death of American culture and filled with the sort of zany characters only Steve Martin could pen, it’s a skewering worthy of the backyard grill directed by Upstart Artistic Director Josh Glover.
WingSpan Theatre Company – DOUBLE BILL: A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot by Tennessee Williams and The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year by John Guare
Two quirky and unique one acts by two American greats, the first is the tale of two faded Southern Belles whose avian induced epiphany forces them to reexamine their lives. The second is a warm, but simple love story that unfolds on a park bench in spring. Both are heartfelt stories full of love, loneliness, laughter and loss directed by WingSpan Artistic Director Susan Sargeant.