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Western Carolina Presents "Midsummer Night’s Dream Set in 1930s Appalachia

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – Care for a serving of Shakespeare, hold the Elizabethan English and add a dash of fiddle and a soft Southern drawl? The department of stage and screen at Western Carolina University will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – a commentary on the absurdity of love – at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 29-31, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Fine and Performing Arts Center on the WCU campus.

One of the most often performed of Shakespeare’s comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” weaves multiple storylines: A royal wedding, a group of amateur actors planning the wedding entertainment, the confused affections of four young lovers, and a feuding fairy king and queen whose magical spells cause mayhem. The characters ultimately decide they must have dreamed the chaotic series of events, yet all find themselves changed by the experience.

“Shakespeare has purposely made this all a jumble,” said director Claire Eye, a faculty member in the department of stage and screen. “Shakespeare’s point is that you can’t put logic into who you fall in love with.”

Eye set the play in Depression-era Appalachia because it was a time when people craved laughter, and the play reminds her of qualities of this region. “There’s such a beauty to the music and the people here,” Eye said.

The play’s music, dance, costumes and set will evoke Appalachia, and while the language will be Shakespeare’s original, the pronunciation will be in a Southern dialect – a natural fit because “Shakespeare’s writing is very musical,” Eye said.

The cast includes:

– Titania, queen of the fairies – senior Dayna Damron of Valdosta, Ga.

– Oberon, king of the fairies – junior Jack Watson of Asheville

– Demetrius – senior Jon Coward of Titusville, Fla.

– Lysander – senior Nathanial Mason of Bryson City

– Hermia – junior Christina DeSoto of Charlotte

– Helena – senior Amanda Pisano of Candler

Puck – freshman Peter O’Neal of Raleigh

– Bottom the Weaver – Peter Savage of Asheville, a faculty member in the department of stage and screen

The play is part of the College of Fine and Performing Arts’ Mainstage theater series and recommended for ages 12 and older. Sunday’s showing also is part of the 2009-10 Galaxy of Stars Series.

Tickets cost $20 for the general public, $5 for students and $15 for WCU faculty and staff and people older than 60. To purchase tickets, visit the FAPAC box office or call the box office at (828) 227-2479 for Visa and MasterCard orders. Order tickets for Thursday through Saturday nights here, and Sunday afternoon here. online here.

Maura Michelle Garcia Comes to Diana Wortham Theatre

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Art Museum is pleased to present a performance of The Little People by MIXED BLOOD WOMAN at Diana Wortham Theatre at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MIXED BLOOD WOMAN is a contemporary dance theater company founded by Maura
Michelle Garcia. Garcia performs her original multi-media piece that explores the world of the ancient Cherokee fairies, the Yvwi Tsvsdi or “little people,” and the having, loosing and reclaiming of traditional Cherokee beliefs and a conscious Native identity.

“We’re thrilled to host Maura Michelle Garcia in conjunction with the Museum’s
exhibition of contemporary Cherokee carvers. Maura is a contemporary dancer and
choreographer of Cherokee descent and this is a wonderful opportunity to connect two
different art forms that both relate to the past and continue the dialogue of what it means to be Cherokee today,” says Nancy Sokolove, Asheville Art Museum Adult Programs Manager.

Garcia has recently been awarded a studio residency through the Charolotte Street
Foundation’s Urban Culture Project in Kansas City, MO. Tickets are available at the Diana Wortham Theatre Box Office, by calling 828.257.4530

Occasional and Asheville Community Theatres Present ‘Return of an Angel’

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville’s award winning Occasional Theatre and Asheville Community Theatre will co-present Sandra Mason’s riveting hit drama, Return of an Angel, in recognition of the 80th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Wolfe’s seminal novel, Look Homeward, Angel. With special permission from the Thomas Wolfe estate, Mason’s powerful play uses Wolfe’s own words to bring to life the “love – hate” relationship that Asheville had with its most famous son, Thomas Wolfe. Chris Morton, Operations/Interpretation Manager for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial said, “We are very pleased Occasional Theatre and ACT are once again bringing this wonderful play to the community.”

The world premiere of the play took place at ACT’s Heston Auditorium, adjacent to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, during the 2007 Thomas Wolfe Festival. Each of the three performances played to nearly full houses and brought audience members to their feet, including Wolfe Festival attendee, Jan Hensley from Greensboro who wrote: “I was just entranced with the play, with the actors, with the set, the lighting, the musicians… it was all professionally done. I can only hope that you will bring it back to Asheville again and again.” Producer Brenda Lunsford Lilly added, “After the performances last year many audience members, including City Council Member Robin Cape, left the theatre and immediately walked over to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.”

In 1929, not everyone in Asheville was thrilled with the newfound fame brought to them by Wolfe’s novel. Many in the town thought that Thomas Wolfe had exposed them to the world, warts and all. Of course now, Look Homeward, Angel is known for its compelling story of time lost, not the salacious gossip.

The Occasional Theatre is dedicated to bringing professional, premiere productions of plays – in particular plays written by North Carolina playwrights – to audiences. Over the years it has produced theatre in both Los Angeles and New York and now is based in Asheville. It is delighted to be partnering again with Asheville Community Theatre and will be donating a portion the ticket sales to the Wolfe Memorial. Sponsors for this production include PLI, Wake Robin Farm Breads, and Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar.

Return of an Angel will run October 2-11 with performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30pm. All performances will be held at Asheville Community Theatre at 35 East Walnut Street in downtown Asheville.. Tickets are $22.00 for adults, $19.00 for seniors and students. Tickets are available online, by phone at the ACT box office (828-254-1320), or in person at the ACT box office, which is located on site at the theatre and is open from 10am-4pm Tuesdays – Saturdays.

Asheville Local Debuts Show at NC Stage Company

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Murphy Funkhouser

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville resident Murphy Funkhouser shows off the junk in her trunk(s) in the autobiographical one-woman show Crazy Bag as part of North Carolina Stage Company‘s 2009-2010 Catalyst Series running August 6 – 15, 2009, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 for Thursdays, $15 for Fridays and Saturdays.

The show was born when single-mom Funkhouser, “who knew a little something about (the show’s theme) baggage and needed to do some unpacking”, lived in Colorado. In its premiere at the 2007 Colorado Theatre Festival, Crazy Bag won Best Director (Denver Post Ovation winner Christopher Willard), and All State Actress (Denver Post Ovation nominee Funkhouser) honors. From there, Crazy Bag went on to play full houses in Breckenridge, Aspen, Denver, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City and was accepted into the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival.

Last summer the show was listed as one the Denver Post’s 10 Shows to See.

Reviewed as “heart-wrenching” and “hilarious”, the show was well received by critics and audiences alike. Says Funkhouser, “Everyone has some kind of baggage-something they are carrying through life.”

Now all “grown-up” (with a career and a daughter in kindergarten), Funkhouser was once a rebellious minister’s daughter who dropped out of Bible College, went wild, lived in her car and called 6 cities home in 10 years (this persona is represented in the show by a life-size cardboard cut-out in fishnets referred to as “The Heathen”). Funkhouser wakes one morning to find the baggage of her life has spilled out and she must sort and unpack to determine how to help her daughter avoid making the same mistakes.

Funkhouser – happy she can now laugh about her past-is also a stand-up comedian who makes healthy use of humor while unloading her burdens. The show is a fast-paced revelation of a remarkable, frequently outrageous journey from barroom to motherhood, rebellion to redemption.

Murphy Funkhouser “This is a funny show,” she says. “But it also has the capacity to be life changing. The term ‘baggage’ is fraught with negative connotations. I want to reclaim the word. Baggage is the treasure of our travels… our souvenirs.”

Funkhouser used her life savings to produce and tour the show last summer because she believes so strongly in its message. “Claiming your baggage is liberating. I dream of a day people are lugging their baggage out into the yard and dancing in celebration of it. There should be no shame in the life well-traveled.”

Running tech for the show is Asheville resident Marlene Mechanic (a friend from Bible College) who left her job in Seattle last summer to tour with the show.

Funkhouser warns that she will open not only her own “crazy bag” but the audience’s as well. “There is something in this show that touches everyone no matter what road they took.”

For further information, visit www.crazybag.net.

Whaledreamers Opens at the Fine Arts Theater on July 22nd

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – Local artist and activist, Katie Kasben, will be traveling to Australia in August to begin researching the possibility of a cultural exchange program between Aboriginal Australians and Native Americans. While there she will attend the GARMA Festival in the Northern Territory of Australia, which is a festival of traditional Aboriginal culture. As a former instructor for the National Young Leaders Conference in DC and the VIP coordinator for the Asheville HATCH festival, Kasben has been invited to attend the “Key Forum” on Creative Industries at GARMA, which is the 2009 theme for the festival.

To raise local awareness of Aboriginal issues, as well as the future exchange program Kasben hopes to accomplish, the documentary WHALEDREAMERS, produced by Julian Lennon, will be shown at the Fine Arts Theatre on July 22, at 7 pm. To see the trailer, please go to the following link: Trailer

Spaces Still Available for August Session of Summer Theatre Camp at ACT

Monday, July 20th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – A popular summer theatre camp returns for Summer 2009 at the Asheville Community Theatre. Younger students will have a chance to work with acting, music, movement, and improvisation through innovation and imagination. Along with developing other skills, older students will also explore courses that delve deeper into scene and monologue work and split their days between the two major producing theatres in downtown Asheville. Each two-week session culminates with a performance showcase, so that each child will have a chance to perform for an audience of family and friends.

Classes include:

Acting and Improvisation

And … Cut!

Movement & Choreography

Musical Theatre

Design Crew

To receive a brochure, please contact Jenny Bunn at 254-2939 x21 or email her at [email protected] Or, click here to read the Frequently Asked Questions about Backstage Pass Summer Camp, http://www.ashevilletheatre.org/Classes/documents/FAQsonSummerCamp_000.doc

The Autumn Players Present The Playboy of the Western World

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Autumn Players present Playboy of the Western World

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville Community Theatre’s senior theatre group, The Autumn Players, and the University of North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement partner to present a Readers Theatre showcase of The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge. Performances will be held Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1 at 2:30 pm at 35below at Asheville Community Theatre and Sunday, August 2 at the Reuter Center on the UNCA campus. Tickets are $5.00 and may be purchased in advance at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office, located at 35 East Walnut Street. The Box Office phone number is 828-254-1320 . Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World is an Irish comedy set in a pub on the northwest coast of County Mayo in the early 1900s. The telling is dramatic and memorable. The New York Times calls The Playboy of the Western World, "A work of art…. Preserves the fresh music of country speech." The play will be directed by Hal Hogstrom. The Autumn Players performance of The Playboy of the Western World will be as Reader’s Theatre where actors perform the script without memorization.

The Autumn Players is a troupe of seasoned actors, directors, and writers dedicated to taking theatre into the community. They debuted in November 1992 with Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club. Since then, they have entertained thousands of students, seniors and in-betweens. While some performances have been at Asheville Community Theatre, most have been in area venues ranging from intimate parlors to open-air stages.

Asheville Arts Center Presents "Annie"

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Arts Center will present “Annie” at 7 p.m. Friday and at 3 p.m. Saturday at Estes Elementary School at 275 Overlook Road in South Asheville, featuring 35 children from ages 5 to 13 who participate in the Asheville Arts Center’s south location.

Tickets are $7 for ages 10 and younger and $10 for others. Call the center at 253-4000 for advance tickets.

The Asheville Art Museum to Screen Documentary Film, "Throwing Curves – Eva Zeisel"

Thursday, March 19th, 2009


ASHVEILLE, NC – The Asheville Art Museum is pleased to screen the documentary film
Throwing Curves ~ Eva Zeisel on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 at 2:00
p.m. each day.

In this engaging film, documentary filmmaker Jyll Johnstone explores the amazing life of the centenarian industrial designer Eva Zeisel. The film follows Zeisel’s life from her birth in Hungary in 1906 through her career as she moved from Berlin to the Soviet Union (where she was imprisoned for a time) to New York City in the 1950s.

This film is a look into Zeisel’s design work, fascinating life history and creative personality. Film critic, Sam Ball calls Zeisel’s personality “as daring and persuasive as her designs.”

Throwing Curves ~ Eva Zeisel (2002) is a must-see for anyone interested in design,
ceramics and the delicate balance of motherhood and having a career in the arts. Free
with Museum Membership or admission. This film is held in conjunction with the exhibition Eva Zeisel: The Shape of Life on view through May 10, 2009 and is free with Museum Membership or admission.

For additional images and information, please contact Communications Manager
Kim Zdanowicz at 828.253.3227, ext. 116 or at [email protected]

"HATCHfest- Asheville" Announces Dates

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – HATCHfest Asheville will launch its inaugural creative artists festival April 15-19, 2009, with events being held in prime downtown locations including Asheville Area Arts Council (front gallery), Echo Mountain Studios, Fine Arts Theatre, Pack Place and The Orange Peel. Film screenings, concerts and exhibits from groundbreaking artists from around the world will occupy these venues. HATCHfest’s mission is to encourage economic development through mentorship, educational panels and labs. All educational events will be free to the general public.

"The participation of some of the best artistic venues in Asheville is an exciting step towards this uniquely innovative and creative event," said Alison Watson, co-chair of HATCHfest Asheville. "The festival dates are set and we’re continuing to build our roster of emerging and established artists who will share their talents and mentoring abilities with aspiring artists from our community and beyond."

Watson said that the founding festival in Bozeman was an inspiration to her when she visited last October.

"The original HATCH is a great example of what creative minds can do when they collaborate. The founders are visionary and we really hope to develop a sister-city connection that nurtures artists and provides a platform for excellence."

The event will showcase some of the world’s best creative artists in film, music, architecture, technology, design, journalism, photography and fashion. Designed to develop and foster growth of creative minds through mentorship, HATCHfest has also become a catalyst for economic development.

"We hope HATCHfest is an event that contributes positively to Asheville not only from a cultural perspective but also as an economic driver," said Neal Reed, manager of the Fine Arts Theatre. "The artistic community of Asheville is a main attraction for visitors. The festival will highlight our thriving arts scene, reinforcing Asheville’s reputation as a creative hotspot."

The original HATCHfest was launched in Bozeman, Mont. and is held annually in the fall.

For additional information on HATCHfest Asheville, visit www.HATCHasheville.org