Asheville – Six shows are scheduled for NC Stage Company in downtown Asheville starting in September. At last, the theatre is able to have a live audience and plan ahead with a full array of wonderful plays by equity actors. Last year was rough for actors and anyone involved in the theater, no matter where you live. Live theater came to a virtual standstill in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Thus, to learn that a full season is planned for the coming year is something to celebrate with great anticipation. This will be NC Stage Company’s 20th season, starting September 7, 2022, and running through June 4, 2023. Season passes are now available at ncstage.org.
The opening play this season will be a Mike Wiley production, which invariably has riveting performances spotlighting difficult moments in American history. The upcoming production, “One Noble Journey, a Box Marked Freedom,” follows Henry “Box” Brown and his harrowing escape from slavery. Wiley is a North Carolina-based actor and playwright whose compelling works of documentary theatre yield powerful journeys through milestones and turning points of a shared American history. His talent and ability to convey the actual events are amazing. He has come to the North Carolina Stage Company here in Asheville on a number of occasions, with “The Fire of Freedom,” about the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till.” “Blood Done Sign My Name”, adapted and performed in a one-man production by Mike Wiley, was the first online production offered by NC Stage in the fall of 2020. It was produced online through Zoom from the Clayton Center outside of Raleigh.
Next up for the upcoming season is a dark comedy with adult themes and language, “The Roommate,” by award-winning American playwright Jen Silverman. This runs from October 5th through October 30th. Sharon, in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over.
After that, from November 16th through December 11th, there will be “Be Here Now,” a witty comedy by Deborah Zoe Laufer. Again, there is adult language. Bari has always been a bit of an angry, depressed misanthrope, and losing her job teaching nihilism in New York and working at the local fulfillment center in her rural hometown has sent her into despair. But lately, her recurring headaches manifest bizarre, ecstatic, almost religious experiences, and they’re changing her entire view of life. She’s in love. She’s almost…happy. When she finds out they are also killing her, she must decide whether it is better to live a short, joyful life or risk a life of misery.
Three more plays round out the season. “The More Loving One” by D. Tucker Smith is an edgy new world premiere exploring the gray areas of love, loss, trust, and truth. This is then followed by the 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. Closing the season is Lauren Gunderson’s “The Revolutionists,” produced by Immediate Theatre Project, which is the story of four female activists during the French Revolution. All three carry discretionary warnings for adult themes and language. Purchase a season pass to see these stimulating plays.
To get tickets, dates, and more information, go to https://www.ncstage.org. Remember that N.C. Stage Company still requires masks for the audience and all staff and volunteers. However, they will no longer require vaccination cards or COVID test results for entry. Also, a few theatre specials are being offered during the opening week of each show: $1 beer, seltzer, or coffee on Thursday; talk back with the cast on Friday; and an opening night champagne toast on Saturday. It should be noted that all plays will be live-streamed as well as in-person.
Over the years, Charlie and Angie Flynn-McIver have brought some delightful plays, as well as some thought-provoking ones, to the intimate 127-seat theatre at 15 Stage Lane in Asheville. After establishing vibrant acting and directing careers in New York City, the couple returned to their home state of North Carolina to establish NC Stage Company and have been producing professional theatre ever since.
NC Stage has been twice recognized for artistic excellence by both the prestigious American Theatre Wing and the North Carolina Theatre Conference George A. Parides Award. In the Mountain Xpress Best of WNC Poll, the company was voted best local theatre 11 times in the last 13 years. NC Stage has hosted three world premieres: “Stalking the Boogeyman” in 2013, “Curvy Widow” in 2016, and “Brave New World” in 2017. NC Stage is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works with members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, under a Small Professional Theatre Tier 4 Contract.
Sign up now to be sure to get seats for the upcoming season. The theatre has returned —live and in person—to 15 Stage Lane. Parking is available in the garage right next door at Rankin Avenue. The walk to the theatre is well lit. Call (828) 239-0263 or go to the website at www.ncstage.org to get tickets.