At the Virginia Festival of the
Doves play to
be performed in part as staged reading
Rita Dove brings her play, The Darker Face of the Earth,
to Charlottesville for the first time in this years Virginia
Festival of the Book. A staged reading of part of the play,
directed by Terésa Dowell-Vest, will take place March 23,
from 4-5:30 p.m., at the Live Arts Theater, with Dove joining
the cast. A discussion period will follow.
book festival is a great venue for this, especially considering
that the play, before it was ever produced or I even hoped for
a stage production, came out as a book, said Dove, Commonwealth
Professor of Poetry at U.Va. The play first was published by Story
Line Press, with the 2000 third edition including an interview
and study guides for teachers. The Darker Face of the Earth
premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July 1996, and
has been produced at other places, from the Kennedy Center in
Washington, D.C., to the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, as well
as several university theaters. A re-casting of Sophocles
Oedipus Rex, Doves play is set in antebellum
South Carolina and tells the story of love and revenge in the
shadow of slavery. Amalia, a plantation owners daughter
who becomes the mistress of the place, is determined to break
the newly purchased Augustus, but finds herself irresistibly drawn
to him. The brutal system of slavery traps them both as they play
out their fateful relationship against the backdrop of a slave
a huge fan of [Doves] work and talked to her about the possibility
of doing this, Dowell-Vest said. To my delight, she
agreed, and I appreciate the opportunity to work on this.
full staging in Charlottesville wouldnt be easy, Dove
said, since the play has a fairly large cast with more than
a dozen black actors, and there is probably no theater in town
that would have all the resources required. A staged reading will
have to do for now.
Dove served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. Winner of
the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, she has published more than
seven books of poetry, a novel, a collection of short stories
and translated several volumes of poetry. Dove also sings opera
and has written lyrics for musical compositions. She lives in
Charlottesville with her husband, author Fred Viebahn, and their
is program director of the statewide African-American Heritage
program, based at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
She holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Management from the California
State University at Long Beach, and is a playwright, director
and actor, with credits in Los Angeles, New York and Charlottesville.
Her play, Vinegar Hill, about what used to be a thriving
African-American neighborhood, was produced at Live Arts Theater
flowers and fish
of Virginia is co-sponsoring two events for the Virginia
Festival of the Book, featuring authors it has published.
program, A Cutting Edge Book for Gardeners,
a slide show and panel discussion exploring cut-flower gardening,
will be held on March 21 at noon in Piedmont Virginia Community
Colleges V. Earl Dickinson Theater and will feature
Suzanne McIntire, author of An American Cutting Garden:
A Primer for Growing Cut Flowers Where Summers Are Hot and
Winters Are Cold. Carol Church, Garden Center Manager of
the downtown Charlottesville Southern States store, and
other members of the Piedmont Master Gardeners will participate.
the program, Fishing the New River Valley, with
outdoor guide M. W. Smith, author of Fishing the New River
Valley: An Anglers Guide, March 20 at 7 p.m. at Blue
Ridge Mountain Sports in Barracks Road Shopping Center.