The Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC) and New World Performance Lab (NWPL) are hosting a second series of open rehearsals of scenes and songs from “Goosetown: The Devil’s Milk Part 2,” Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, August 16 at 2 p.m. at The Balch Street Theatre, 220 South Balch St.
“Goosetown” is a drama with songs written and directed by Akron theatre artist JT Buck and performed by an ensemble of regional actors and musicians. The story of the play is drawn from historical narratives both real and imagined. A feedback session will take place following each performance. Admission to this work-in-progress staged reading is $10. Reservations may be made by calling (330) 867-3299 or online at goosetown.bpt.me.
Akron in the early 20th century was an apocalyptic nightmare of spiraling growth, race and labor riots, suffrage and temperance, clashing languages, plagues, floods, world wars, booming evangelists and economic busts. “Goosetown” tells the story of a man, a rubber worker, pulled from the hills of West Virginia, railroaded north and sent to work on the line at Akron Rubber Company.
He finds a place to sleep in the arms of a desperate single mother in the mostly German neighborhood of Goosetown. Her son, Ken, is a bright and ethereal figure who inspires the worker’s devotion at first sight. But Goosetown is a strange place, built defiantly atop a mysterious ravine with a gothic cathedral at its center, ruled by a rigid social network, and filled with secrets that refuse to be buried.
The times and the terrain – not to mention the obsessive machinations of a powerful industry tycoon whose heart has been blackened by greed and grief — all seem to conspire to destroy the man’s simple mission: save the boy.
Actors include Jennifer Browning, recently seen in “Always…Patsy Cline” at Actor’s Summit, Curtis Blind, DeAndre Hairston-Karim, Mark Seven, Brandon Meeker and Laura Stitt. Costume design is by Inda Blatch-Geib and lighting design by Chris Hariasz and Kix with technical assistance from Robert Keith and visual contributions by Akron artist Chuck Ayers.
The Devil’s Milk Trilogy
NWPL in conjunction with the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC) will devise “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy” in six intensive two-week work sessions between March and November 2015. Each work session will culminate in an open rehearsal and talkback session with the public. “Death of a Man: The Devil’s Milk, Part 1” was presented in March and May to great critical and audience acclaim. “Goosetown: The Devil’s Milk, Part 2” had an initial series of open rehearsals in June. The entire trilogy will begin performances in 2016 at the company’s home base, The Balch Street Theatre, 220 South Balch Street in Akron. Each part of the trilogy will stand on its own as a performance event and take on a very distinct theatrical form and style, providing a stimulus and forum for a frank discussion about the city and the rubber that shaped it. A grant from The Knight Foundation will help pay for artists’ stipends during the development process and allow CATAC/NWPL to offer ensemble members and local theatre artists the opportunity to refine their craft.
About CATAC and NWPL
CATAC serves as the administrative umbrella for NWPL, an internationally acclaimed ensemble of theatre artists that has been active in Northeastern Ohio since 1992. Since taking up residence at The Balch Street Theatre in 2011, CATAC has produced a number of exceptional NWPL productions including “Virginia Woolf’s ORLANDO” and “Gilgamesh: He Who Saw Everything” as well as hosting various theatre companies such as Studium Teatralne from Poland, TAPIT Theatre Ensemble from Madison, WI, and Ma’Sue Productions. CATAC/NWPL spearheads numerous community projects, training sessions, educational programs, and performances throughout the region, nationally, and internationally.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that can lead to transformational change.