Nashville's professional progressive theatre, People's Branch Theatre (PBT), recently announced its 2008-09 lineup of shows. PBT continues its nine-year tradition of pushing boundaries and breaking barriers by presenting four fantastic shows, including a modern classic from one of America's best playwrights, a heartbreaking story of love and blindness by one of Ireland's best writers, a darkly comic satire, and yet another original work created right here in Music City!

"This is PBT's ninth season of producing bold, groundbreaking and thoroughly unique professional theatre for Nashville, and it's going to be the best yet," said Artistic Director Ross Brooks. "After almost a decade as Nashville's professional progressive theatre, we're still growing, and we're ready to take Nashville's theatre community for a ridiculous, rockin' ride. People's Branch is known for going out on a limb, and each of these plays presents us with a chance for local actors, musicians, artists and designers to create one-of-a-kind, thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking theatre pieces. Every generation needs a new revolution, and PBT is here to provide it."
 

People's Branch will hold general auditions for its 2008-09 season on July 13 at the Nashville Children's Theatre from noon to 6 pm. Roles are available in all productions for both Equity and non-union actors. Please prepare two contrasting monologues. No singing required. No appointment necessary.

"We've also decided to try something different with our schedule this season - since theatrical offerings are scarce in June, PBT will present its final show of the 2008-09 season right as the summer hits its stride," Brooks said. "It's a great way to laugh away the heat. We're keeping the comedy cool and dark this year, just the way PBT fans like it."


All productions will be held at the Belcourt Theatre, the home of independent cinema in Nashville. People's Branch has been the resident professional theatre company at the Belcourt for four seasons now, and the combination of independent cinema and progressive theatre makes the Belcourt Nashville's one-stop venue for the best in progressive entertainment.

Committed to keeping the cost of professional theatre low, PBT will continue to offer Pay-What-You-Can nights during the run of each production, making high-quality professional theatre available to everyone regardless of the price of admission. Tickets can be purchased through the Belcourt box office online at www.belcourt.org or by calling 615-846-3150.

People's Branch Theatre is Nashville's professional progressive theatre. Established in 2000, PBT consistently brings together the best local artists to create bold, innovative and socially progressive theatre for Nashville. By expanding the boundaries of what is possible on a local stage, PBT adds a dynamic and exciting new voice to Nashville's cultural landscape.

"Each of these shows is about growth and evolution on some level," said Brooks, "the personal evolution of an individual or an artform, even the evolution of spirituality. Since PBT is about to hit the big number ten, we thought it was a perfect time to take a look at the way we all grow and evolve, to see exactly how it changes us and the world around us.

The 2008-2009 season schedule:

"True West"
By Sam Shepard
September 18-27
Rated R

Recently revived at New York's Circle in the Square, where Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternated playing the roles of the brothers, True West is one of Sam Shepard's funniest plays, as well as one of his most brutal. Austin is a stable, successful Hollywood screenwriter, Lee his menacing vagabond brother, and True West is the story of their attempt to trade lives. Their tragicomic quest to change identity ends in a stalemate, but along the way this Pulitzer Prize-winning author takes gleeful potshots at Hollywood, the myth of the frontier, and the escape fantasies that drive the American imagination.

From Brooks-
"This is the kind of show that People's Branch does best, and the best part is that it was written by one of the best American playwrights. Sam Shepard is an American icon whom most people know solely from his work in film, but very few people know him as a playwright. True West combines black comedy and drama to form a unique vision of the landscape of America and the people who inhabit it, brilliantly encapsulating the adage, 'Be careful what you wish for: you just might get it.'"

"Molly Sweeny"
By Brian Friel
February 5-14, 2009
Rated PG

Three points of view about a poignant drama are related by three characters addressing the audience directly. First there is Molly, blind since early infancy, who describes her world before and after an operation to restore some of her sight. Her husband, Frank, who pushed Molly into this operation, relates his view of his wife's journey into sightedness and his dealings with her doctor. Molly's once-famous eye surgeon, Mr. Rice, watches both Molly and Frank and reveals his opinion of them along with his own fears in handling the operation. Through it all we see each character's painful and happy histories, their memories and the events that led them to meet. Their stories interweave on stage, threading in and around each other's lives, until the unexpected and touching conclusion to this striking tale. 

From Brooks-
"This is a gorgeous play by one of Ireland's best contemporary playwrights, and it's a beautiful, sad, and ultimately moving love story that is perfect for the most hopeless romantics in PBT's audience. Plus, we've got an added twist - the role of Molly Sweeney will be played by NaTasha O' Brien, a fantastic Nashville actress who is also blind."

"Three Gods Walk Into A Bar"
By Ross Brooks
April 16-25, 2009
Rated R

What happens to old gods when no one believes in them anymore? The search for gainful supernatural employment and the philosophy of spirituality are each at the heart of Three Gods, a heavenly funny farce that looks at one of the most radical shifts in Western civilization and philosophy - Christianity. The Gods of Mount Olympus are in trouble; They don't have many worshippers left, they can't get their thunderbolts to work, and suddenly they're in the middle of a hostile takeover and they have forty-eight hours to vacate the premises. Set in a bar on Mount Olympus over Easter weekend, this ridiculously tender look at the personalities of deities explores the question of what it means to exist in a world that no longer has faith in you.
 
From Brooks-
"This is an idea that has been stewing around in my head for a long time, and it's a funny and touching way to explore some of the deepest questions we as a species ask ourselves. The Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses are wonderfully rich characters with lots of good, bad, and overall human qualities that make them perfect for the stage."

"Bright Ideas"
by Eric Coble
June 19-28, 2009
Rated PG

How far would you go for your child? For Genevra and Joshua Bradley, the question is no longer hypothetical. Their three-year-old son, Mac, is next on the waiting list to get into the Bright Ideas Early Childhood Development Academy - and everyone knows once you're in there, your life will unfold with glorious ease. Josh and Gen have had to scramble all their lives to get this far . . . and now they're one fatal dinner party away from the ultimate success as parents: The Right Pre-School. You may never look at pre-school - or pesto - the same way again.

From Brooks-
"This play is by a wonderfully talented young American playwright, and it's one of the funniest plays I've read in a long time. It's got that mix of darkness and absurdity that is a perfect fit for PBT, and it's also a great satire of modern parenting, the school system, and overall human behavior. A great way for young parents to laugh at putting their babies in school."

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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