Night Blooms at Virginia Rep
Margaret Baldwin's Night Blooms, produced by Virginia Repertory Theatre and directed by Bruce Miller, opened September 28th at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre (formerly the Empire) in downtown Richmond.
Margaret sits down with Richmond Virginia's Channel 6 to discuss Night Blooms, running at Virginia Rep September 28 through October 21st.
"Weaves family folklore and social history with poetic intensity and unexpected vividness."
About the play:
In 1965 Selma, Alabama, a rare bloom comes to life on the porch as an historic movement marches forward in the streets. And in the Stafford home, an unexpected visitor changes the lives of two families forever, proving that personal ties are more intricate than politics, and that true social change demands love, humor, and grace. First produced by Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta, Night Blooms earned Margaret the 2011 Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award and was named one of 2010’s top plays by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ArtsATL.com.
In 1965 Selma, Alabama, a rare bloom comes to life on the porch as an historic movement marches forward in the streets. And in the Stafford home, an unexpected visitor changes the lives of two families forever, proving that personal ties are more intricate than politics, and that true social change demands love, humor, and grace.
Night Blooms is Baldwin’s attempt to make sense of her own family story within the big story of history. It’s a play about how families face and live through change, and how change forces us to see the world with different eyes. Developed and first produced by Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta, Night Blooms earned Baldwin the 2011 Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award for best new play by an Atlanta Playwright.
“Like a heady mix of Tennessee Williams and Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel The Help, Margaret Baldwin’s Night Blooms… is an absorbing portrait of a crumbling social structure that articulates multiple points of view while capturing the tentative moral footing of those caught somewhere in between.” – Wendell Brock, AJC
“Night Blooms gives us real people, who with all their flaws and there are some doozies on display – are so loved by the playwright and the company of actors that we can't help but love them too.” – Phil Kloer, ArtsCriticAtl.com
Tedx Atlanta Talk
"Assume nothing. Notice everything. Make something... happen." Playwright of Night Blooms, Margaret Baldwin, shares her creative process while dealing with questions about race, identity and human rights. Thank you to Definition 6 for providing in-kind video editing services for TEDxAtlanta.
Eiffel Tower Wedding Party
Baldwin stepped outside of her role as playwright to direct this fresh take on Jean Cocteau’s 1920’s surrealist farce about a photographer trying to snap the perfect photo of a wedding party on the Eiffel Tower. Chaos ensues as unexpected characters—an ostrich, a lion, a bathing beauty, and a massacring child—burst forth from the camera onto to the scene. Written fresh from his days as an ambulance driver for World War I, Cocteau’s play celebrates art and life in the face of death, machinery, and the things we can't control. In fall of 2011 Baldwin paired The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party with a commissioned companion work by experimental theatremaker Michael Haverty for KSU’s The Cocteau Hour, produced by the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, with original music composed by Daniel Hilton (TPS alumnus) and jazz musician MJ Williams.
In summer 2012, Baldwin teamed up with co-director Karen Robinson and a KSU student ensemble to remount The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party. After presenting the at the 2012 LMDA International Conference in Atlanta, they traveled to Morocco to participate in the Festival International de Théatre Universitaire de Casablanca in Morocco (2012), where the production won two awards.
TomThumb The Great
Our tiny hero battles an army of giants, a courtly villain, and a conniving queen to win the love of the brainy princess (and budding alchemist) Huncamunca. With the help of a trio of fools and the wizard who gave him life, Tom comes to learn that true greatness lies within. First commissioned and produced in 2008 by Georgia Shakespeare for its Family Classics series, Baldwin’s Tom Thumb the Great puts contemporary, family-friendly twists on an 18th century satire by Henry Fielding.
Roland's Song: A War Story
Commissioned and produced by the KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (2005), Roland’s Song: A War Story, collides Song of Roland, a medieval French epic war poem with the stories of contemporary veterans. Baldwin and student ensemble members gathered the stories from interviews with veterans among their families and friends. Baldwin worked with the students to adapt these interviews and create dialectic with the epic story of war. Roland’s Song questions what it means to be a soldier—and a hero—in today’s world.
You All Ways Go Home
You Always Go Home interweaves the stories of these Kenyans living in diaspora with traditional folk tales from their families and communities. Like most of Baldwin’s “Plays that Teach,” You Always Go Home was developed in collaboration with students and colleagues and produced by the KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (2006). Baldwin and co-director/dramaturg Karen Robinson built this ethnographic theatre work based on interviews with Kenyans living in the Atlanta and KSU communities. The play was featured at the International Conference of the Role of the Kenyan Diaspora on Kenya’s Development (2007).
“You Always Go Home is not just entertainment drama; it is the image and voice of a community that is mostly perplexed, flabbergasted and confused about everything around them. (...) For such a community, nothing is more healing and reassuring than knowing that somebody takes interest in them and at least tries to understand them. The play breaks socio-cultural barriers. It is an addition to efforts aimed at creating an international citizen.” — Letter from Kenyan journalist
Her Little House
Great Aunt Salt is solid, family, traditional Old South. Her niece Louise is restless, creative, independent New South. Their two worlds collide with humor and heart when Louise embarks on a weekend visit to interview her Great Aunt and recapture the comfort and inspiration of a childhood summer she spent there. Over iced tea, butterbeans and Madame Butterfly, the armor of the interview cracks and the women discover the surprising ties that bind them. This empowering, intergenerational story reveals two tenacious Southern women navigating the passages of life. Her Little House was one of seven plays in the nation to receive the 2004 AT&T: Onstage Award for the world premiere of contemporary theatre.
“…a richly textured meditation on the complicated relationships between love and memory, heart and home.” --Wendell Brock, AJC
Alice through the Wonderglass
Alice wants to be Queen, but she has join giant chess game in the Wonderglass world in order to get there. Follow her journey to the Eighth Square as Alice encounters (among others), a grinning cat, a jabberwocky, formidable queens, tweedling brothers (Dum and Dee), and—of course—a mad tea party. She learns along the way to believe in impossible things to find life’s wonder within her own heart.
Baldwin's whimsical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Lookingglass was hailed as "A tea party of words; treacle for all ages" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"It’s a faithful, witty homage to Carroll that showcases (Baldwin’s) native gift for language and literary tomfoolery. This is a writer who is not afraid to connect with her younger, playful self. To our great good fortune, she takes us there, too." – Wendell Brock, AJC
Monkey—born of Heaven and earth—has the perfect life on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. When he bursts through to the other side of the Magic Waterfall, he earns the title of King—and the attention of the Jade Emperor, ruler of Heaven. But that’s not enough for Monkey. Follow Chinese folklore’s favorite trickster as he cultivates his supernatural powers, finds his magic cudgel, and steals the immortal peaches by outwitting the Jade Emperor and all the bureaucrats of Heaven.
Monkey King is Baldwin’s contemporary adaptation of the 16th Century Chinese folk novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. Baldwin infuses this epic tale of Monkey’s journey to enlightenment with contemporary situations and witty dialogue that capture the playful, rebellious spirit of the classic tale. First directed by Karen Robinson and choreographed by Ivan Pulinkala, Monkey King was commissioned and produced by the KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. In 2005 Monkey King toured with a student ensemble to China where it was featured at the Shanghai Theatre Academy’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.