Addae Moon has seen his own work championed at the Theatrical Outfit.
Now, as the new associate artistic director at the downtown theater, he will extend that consideration to others.
A playwright and dramaturg and former literary manager at the Horizon Theatre, Moon is also former director of performance-based interpretation at the Atlanta History Center.
As of Monday, in his new job at the Theatrical Outfit, Moon will be part of a company dedicated to performing new work with an Atlanta connection, through the Made in Atlanta program.
The Outfit begins highlighting local writers in earnest Thursday, Jan. 7, with the first of four readings that comprise the Unexpected Play Festival. First up is “Well-Intentioned White People,” by Imani Vaughn-Jones.
The commitment to Atlanta writers comes courtesy of new artistic director Matt Torney, who replaces 25-year Theatrical Outfit veteran Tom Key this season.
Moon’s own play, “Branches Etched Across the Sky,” had a reading at last year’s Unexpected Play Festival.
The Decatur resident (his first name is pronounced “ah DAH yay”) spoke Tuesday about his role with the Outfit, about trying to connect with audiences digitally and about an Atlanta-centric repertoire.
Is the Unexpected Play Festival like a table reading?
It’s somewhere between a table reading and stage reading. It’s a great opportunity for the writer to hear the words spoken aloud by actors and for audience members to be part of new play development process. Afterwards there’s a critical discussion session, trying to give the writer feedback and notes to help the writer create the next draft of the piece.
How can you get feedback when the audience is watching online?
The discussion session is moderated, people watching can offer comments in chat. But that’s one of the biggest challenges for any theater: to continue to have that connection with the audience.
Why did you take the job?
One of the things that excited me about the position was the emphasis on new work. As it relates to the Atlanta landscape, no others have done it, no one made it the focus of a theater’s mission.
You will be the first person of color on the Outfit’s full-time artistic staff. Last year the New York Times wrote about the lack of Black playwrights in Atlanta’s productions. Is this a concern?
It’s definitely a concern, and it should be a concern of all the theaters in town. I don’t think any artist of color was surprised by the Times article. One of the pushes for new work development that the Theatrical Outfit is trying to explore is to make sure that the diversity of stories that the theater is trying to tell reflects the diversity of the city. There is no city in the country like Atlanta, in terms of cultural and racial dynamics.
Is there an up side to staging performances online?
One of the benefits of doing digital theater projects is you get that broader audience that you might not have normally gotten; they might not come down for a reading but will be able to see it digitally,
When can we expect to see in-person theater again?
A lot of it depends on what’s happening with the vaccine. I can’t see anybody going back full throttle, butts-in-seats. But theaters all over the country are going to continue to find ways that stories will be told, that artists will connect with audiences.
The Graham Martin Unexpected Play Festival, in collaboration with the Working Title Playwrights, begins Thursday, Jan. 7, with “Well-Intentioned White People,” by Imani Vaughn-Jones. All plays are free but require a registration on Zoom, and take place at 7 p.m. each of the next four Thursdays. There is also a $50 VIP package, with VIP pre-shows at 6:30 p.m. each night and a chat with Matt Torney.
“Memorial Day,” by Paul Donnelly, about the AIDS crisis and the resilience of its survivors; 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14; “Raising The Dead” by Erin K. Considine, about the power of loss, love, and strong female friendship; 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21; “Pearl” by Sonhara Eastman, which explores the power of legacy in an America; 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28. To register for the Zoom event, go to theatricaloutfit.org/boxoffice/tickets
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com