Antaeus Theatre Company opens its 2023-24 season with the world premiere of SHE, a poignant, magical and lyrical coming-of-age American drama written by Antaeus-commissioned playwright Marlow Wyatt and directed by Andi Chapman (Native Son, The Abuelas). Performances take place October 20 through November 20 at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale, with low-priced previews beginning October 15.
Camille Ariana Spirlin (Runaway Home at the Fountain) stars as 13-year-old SHE Sojourner Freeman. Resilient and ever-optimistic, SHE overcomes her stifling small-town existence by re-imagining her reality through poetry. Her dreams take flight when she’s presented with the opportunity to attend the prestigious Vanguard Academy.
“How do you thrive when you’re stuck in a small box?” asks Wyatt. “SHE is trapped by the boundaries of generational fear, searching and wanting and growing up female in a male society. She copes through a world of poetry and eventually discovers that the small town she desperately wants to escape is filled with the very people who give her wings to fly.”
The cast of characters also includes SHE’s best friend, Davie Mansaw, played by Ovation, Backstage and LADCC award-winner Lorenz Arnell; SHE’s hard-working, single mother, Bernice, portrayed by longtime Antaeus company member Karen Malina White (Eight Nights, As You Like It, The Liar); Bernice’s charismatic gambler boyfriend, Mr. Lonnie (Jon Chaffin, seen as Bigger in Native Son at both Antaeus and CTG Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre); eagle-eyed town matriarch, Miss Jane (four-time NAACP Theater Award nominee Veronica Thompson); and city-slick hustler Othalee (Gerard Joseph seen and heard in Antaeus productions of Everybody and The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles podcast series).
SHE is the recipient of the second annual Los Angeles New Play Project (LANPP) grant, designed to attract excellence in playwriting to the Los Angeles theater community and encourage the production of exciting, untried plays. The script was also a CTG/HUMANITAS finalist, Long Beach Playhouse New Works winner, and received National Black Theatre Festival A-List and Antaeus Theatre Company Lab Results readings.
The creative team includes scenic designer Eli Sherlock, lighting designer Andrew Schmedake, sound designer Jeff Gardner, video designer Nick Santiago, costume designer Wendell C. Carmichael and properties designer Katie Iannitello. The assistant director is Jessica Williams and the production stage manager is Camella Cooper.
Antaeus is an actor-driven theater company that explores and produces timely and timeless works, grounded in its passion for the classics. The company illuminates diverse human experiences through performance, training and outreach. It believes in the transformative power of live theater.
SHE runs October 20 through November 20, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. (dark Monday, Oct. 23). There will be two additional weeknight performances, on Thursday, Nov. 9 and Thursday, Nov. 16, each at 8 p.m.; two additional matinees, on Saturday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 18, each at 2 p.m.; and four preview performances October 15 through October 19. Tickets to all performances are $40; tickets to previews are $20.
The Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center is located at 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205 (between N. Brand Blvd. and Artsakh Ave.). The first 90 minutes of parking is free, then $2 per hour, in Glendale Marketplace garage located at 120 Artsakh Ave. (between Broadway and Harvard). The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.
For reservations and information, call 818-506-1983 or go to antaeus.org.