‘Doubt’ comes to Downtown Arts Center: AthensWest debuts with Pulitzer winner
by Kim Thomas
In our doubt, there is believing ….
Playwright Bo List is one of those talents who isn’t just a triple threat. He can produce, direct, pen a fresh play or rejuvenate an old classic yet keep it true to the main storylines of fine playwrights like Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley.
He is back in Lexington with a new theater company called AthensWest. They open their debut show in February with the play, DOUBT. There is no doubt that with List at the helm, every detail will be attended to, courtesy and politeness will be the order of the day, and rehearsals should be pretty entertaining in and of themselves with Bo’s sense of humor.
List is excited about AthensWest’s maiden voyage. “Absolutely! This is our debut. If, as we expect, a great deal of interest is generated by this first production then we will be ready to move forward with a fuller season next year.”
He explains how the new theatre came about. “Nobody owns and operates it, as it is a non-profit enterprise; bu it is run, informally at the moment, by a collective that includes myself, Jeff Day (Producer, and Asbury film and theatre professor), Mark Mozingo (Director of Outreach, and professional actor from New York), Kate Goodwin (Production Manager, and theatre instructor with EKU, Centre and BCTC), and Associate Artists Leslie Beatty, Jim Betts and Miles Meehan.”
“The theatre came about by the desire to create more professional opportunities for theatre artists in the region. For us, this means providing a theatre where Equity actors (those who belong to the union for stage actors) can work alongside those who are non-union. By combining the best of both union and non-union, we are creating opportunities for artists of all stripes to be paid for their work. And opportunities abound for audiences too – the more good theatre in town, the merrier. With some theatres in the area downsizing (or disappearing), and others like KCT producing more and the Lexington Theatre Company appearing out of nowhere (or seeming to, anyway!) – Central Kentucky will have lots of viable, exciting options. We’re thrilled to be one of them!”
Doubt is scheduled at the Downtown Arts Center, February 5-15, 2015. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. There will be a reception for the company and audience after the opening performance, February 5. The Downtown Arts Center is at 141 Main Street. Go to www.athenswest.org for tickets, or call 1-866-811-4111.
ABOUT ATHENS WEST
“We wanted to start with something important,” said founding producer and director Bo List. “Doubt is, foremost, a great play – and we’re in the business of telling great stories. But it is also intimate, relevant, and asks big questions. We want not only to put on great shows, but start great conversations with our audience.”
AthensWest Theatre Company members are producers Jeff Day and Bo List; director of outreach Mark Mozingo; production manager Kate Goodwin; and associate artists Leslie Beatty, Jim Betts, and Miles Meehan.
AthensWest’s mission is “to develop an intimate and dynamic relationship with Central Kentucky by producing compelling professional theatre,” which for the company means providing opportunities to the region’s many professional theatre artists who belong to Actors’ Equity Association – the union for professional stage actors – and those who don’t. “That’s one of the best parts about what we’re doing,” says Jeff Day, appearing as Father Flynn and a founding producer of AthensWest. “If an actor in Lexington was serious about a career in theatre, there was only ever one option for them: leave. We’re creating a theatre that allows them to pursue their art as a professional right here in Central Kentucky.”
The venue for the play is the Downtown Arts Center, recently taken over in management by LFUCG Parks and Recreation. “It’s been marvelous,” says List. “The tide has really changed in Lexington for theatre support. What they’re doing at the DAC to promote our work, to make the theatre more comfortable and accessible for audiences, and to play a bigger role in our vibrant downtown – it’s just wonderful. The same goes for LexArts (Lexington’s arts council), with whom we present this play in partnership.”
John Patrick Shanley’s searing drama Doubt, A Parable, is best known for the 2009 film version, which earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and for each of its four stars (Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis). Doubt won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2005 and has been produced to great acclaim across the country on Broadway, in regional theatre, and on tour. Playwright John Patrick Shanley is the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Screenplay (for 1988’s Moonstruck), and the Pulitzer Prize, and Tony and Obie Awards for Best Play for Doubt, A Parable. Other films include Congo, Alive, and Joe Versus the Volcano.
This article appears on page 10 of the February 2015 print issue of Ace.
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