Theater notes: Rialto launches season; local troupes mark anniversaries

Rialto opens with a poetic theatrical journey to Africa

A Rialto Center for the Arts season that features a rich array of music performances starts with a potent theatrical note in “Traces: A Speech to African Nations” at 7 p.m. Sept. 15.

Burkinabe actor and director Étienne Minoungou presents the one-man theatrical performance, delivered in French with English supertitles. Minoungou portrays a storyteller returning to his home continent of Africa, standing alone against the world, determined to address it.

His monologue was composed by Felwine Sarr, the Senegalese humanist, philosopher, writer, economist and musician.

“‘Traces’ is addressed to the youth of Africa, to the lifeblood of the continent who thinks, often as a form of defiance, that their East is still the West,” Sarr said. “I wanted to talk to youth with a text that wasn’t all raw reality. . . . Poetry shines a different light on reality. It takes us out of the present. There’s an archaic power to it which touches at the essence of things.”

Simon Winsé, a Burkina Faso native, provides “Traces’” evocative music.

A post-show panel, presented in collaboration with Georgia State University’s Center for Studies on Africa and Its Diaspora, focuses on some of the speech’s themes, including African identity and the trauma of migration, and explores the cultural and intellectual dynamism of Africa and its diaspora.

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

Northside, southside troupes celebrate anniversaries

Two other metro troupes are hitting round-number anniversaries this season.

Sandy Springs’ Act 3 Productions focuses its 10th season on family themes and introduces a new artistic director, Zach Stutts, who has returned to Atlanta after working for theaters in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley since 2016. The season opens with “Lost in Yonkers,” Sept. 23-Oct. 9, and also includes “A Christmas Story,” Dec. 2-18; “Little Women,” Feb. 10-26; and “August: Osage County,” April 14-30.

“With this first season coming out of the pandemic, I wanted to explore and share stories that focus on various family dynamics — stories that allow us, as patrons, to be both entertained and inspired, but also with which we can relate,” said Stutts, who attended Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville and worked in its musical theater program.

Meanwhile, Southside Theatre Guild, which bills itself as metro Atlanta’s oldest continually operating, all-volunteer community theater, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The 2022-23 season opens Sept. 15-25 with “On Golden Pond.” The Fairburn theater is presenting only plays that have been previously performed by the company, and charging prices from the initial run. So, tickets for “On Golden Pond,” originally produced in 1999, will be $10 for adults and $8 for ages 12 and under.

The schedule also includes “The 1940s Radio Hour” (Dec. 8-18), “Charlotte’s Web” (Feb. 23-March 5), “The Odd Couple” (April 27-May 7) and “Into the Woods” (July 20-30).


Credit: ArtsATL

Credit: ArtsATL

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