The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The 27th season at Theatre Macon promises to delight audiences in central Georgia with good-humored comedy, engaging and diverse drama, and plenty of fun for the whole family. The wide range of offerings at the downtown theater includes something this season for every taste and every mood.
"Becky's New Car" will open Theatre Macon's season in September. It's a delightful, charming comedy about a midlife crisis from a woman's point of view. The lead character is Becky Foster, a middle-aged woman working in middle management at a car dealership. She's stuck in a mediocre marriage and has little hope for improvement in her life. When a socially-awkward millionaire stumbles into the car dealership, everything changes. She's offered the chance at a new life and the audience is taken along for a joyride down the road not taken.
"It's a relatively new play by Steven Dietz, who is actually one of our best and most prominent living playwrights," explained Jim Crisp, artistic director at Theatre Macon. "We've done two plays by him. We did his version of Dracula about 12, 13 years ago… It's actually the best Dracula script out here." According to Crisp, the script for “Becky’s New Car” was commissioned by a man for his wife's birthday. The only thing the man required of Dietz was it had to be a comedy.
"'Becky's New Car' is definitely a comedy, but it has a little substance too," continued Crisp. "It deals with midlife crisis from the woman's point of view. It's Becky's story; it's her midlife crisis. The car in the title becomes the major metaphor for the journey she's making in her life at that particular time."
A funny and engaging story, the play breaks down the fourth wall. Becky talks to the audience. She even pulls an audience member up on stage to help her get dressed for a date. The action extends beyond the stage and really gets the audience involved.
It’s also important to note that while “Becky’s New Car” is hilarious, it’s not for the kids. Not because of foul language or subject matter, but because of the story. An adult can relate to the themes of a midlife crisis and the road not taken, but youngsters wouldn’t have the context.
Fortunately, later in September, Theatre Macon’s Youth Actor’s Company will perform, giving patrons young and old a reason to applaud. “The AristoCats” features a cute story, recognizable name and a chance for YAC’s young local actors to shine.
“I was looking for something for our younger actors to do,” said Crisp. “Something that would be fun and upbeat. If you ask a lot of people 'What's your favorite animated feature?' they'll say 'AristoCats.'”
Of course, this season at Theatre Macon isn’t all about comedies. “First Breeze of Summer” is a thought-provoking work by Leslie Lee about a middle-class African American family in a small Northeastern city. The drama unfolds on two levels: modern-day events which occur over a hot June weekend and through flashbacks of the memories of the visiting grandmother as a young woman remembering the three men who fathered her three children. This production is made possible through funding by The Knight Foundation, allowing Theatre Macon to feature the work of this important African American playwright.
Theatre Macon: 438 Cherry St., Macon; 478-746-9485; www.theatremacon.com