7 Stages, KSU join forces in ‘intensely sensory’ ‘Red Badge of Courage’

Stephen Crane won praise for his powers of invention after “The Red Badge of Courage,” his famed Civil War novel, was published in 1895. Crane had not served in combat or witnessed any facet of war when he penned his detailed and highly realistic story in his early 20s about Union recruit Henry Fleming and his crisis of conscience.

Youth again will be served as 7 Stages and Kennesaw State University join forces to stage “Red Badge of Courage,” opening Feb. 27 for a run through March 23.

Four Kennesaw State University theater students — Josh Brook, Laura Driskill, Devon Hales and Megan Jance — will appear in the production with professional actor Bryan Mercer. KSU students also fill many of the backstage roles, including set, costume and lighting designers.

7 Stages describes the show as an “intimate, intensely sensory performance” employing, along with the actors, tabletop puppetry and projected silhouettes and animation.

“It’s a book I’ve always wanted to adapt since I first read it as a kid in middle school,” co-creator and 7 Stages associate artistic director Michael Haverty said. “The story is all about what happens to a soldier in battle and the surreal-ness of war, especially for our main character, who really doesn’t know why he’s there.”

As for how puppetry fits into the theater of war, co-creator and KSU associate theater professor Jane Barnette explained on the production's web site (www.redbadgeofcourage.net): "Psychologically, there's a cognitive dissonance that occurs during extreme trauma, and the puppet allowed us to depict those moments of disassociation materially. On a spiritual level, the puppet represents Henry's higher self — a wholeness of body, mind and soul that he seeks."

With “Red Badge’s” opening, Haverty, artistic director Heidi S. Howard and managing director Mack Headrick are marking their one-year anniversary as 7 Stages’ leaders.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays (with 2 p.m. matinees March 15 and 22) and 5 p.m. Sundays. Intended for ages 12 and up. Tickets start at $20. 1105 Euclid Ave, Atlanta. www.7stages.org.

THEATER

Jerry’s Habima tunes up for ‘Little Shop’

Having celebrated its 20th anniversary as Georgia’s only theater troupe led by professionals that features actors with special needs, Jerry’s Habima Theatre returns with a production of “Little Shop of Horrors” starting Feb. 27 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.

“It gives me such joy to witness all of the lives that have been deeply touched by this remarkable theater and to see how far it’s come in 21 years,” troupe benefactor Lois Blonder said. She praised the actors “who pour their hearts into each production” and audiences that respond with emotion of their own.

Director Dina Shadwell mixes in professional actors with her special needs cast. Members of the latter group, all ages 18 and up, “achieve new levels of self-confidence, motivation and socialization from the intensive three-month process of rehearsals and performances,” she said.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and March 1; 3 p.m. March 2; 7:30 p.m. March 6 and 8; and 3 p.m. March 9. Tickets: $35; $15 ages 12 and under. Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4002, www.atlantajcc.org/boxoffice.

VISUAL ART

All that and art supplies too

Their selection last year as Working Artist Project fellows by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia just got sweeter for E.K. Huckaby, Scott Ingram and Fahamu Pecou.

MOCA GA recently announced that each of the honorees will receive a $1,000 supply account at Binders Art Supplies and Frames. They will be presented with the new prize in a 2 p.m. Feb. 25 event at Binders, 3330 Piedmont Road, Atlanta.

As part of their selection, each already is receiving a $12,000 stipend and a studio assistant to support the creation of an exhibit at MOCA GA over a year's time. For more on the Working Artist Project, launched in 2007 to encourage mid-career artists to remain in Atlanta and to promote the city as a place where artists thrive: www.mocaga.org/workingartistproject.asp.

In Other News