If you follow theatre in Fayetteville, chances are you’ve heard a thing or two about TheatreSquared’s upcoming production of Sundown Town.
The new play, written by local playwright Kevin Cohea, has had theatre fans in town buzzing for a variety of reasons lately, and audiences can get a sneak peak at what all the fuss is about at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at the Fayetteville Public Library.
There’s a lot to be excited about.
For one thing, Sundown Town is the work of a promising young, local playwright in Cohea.
For another, it has local historical significance in that it is the story of an African American drifter from the early 1900’s who wanders into a small town in North Arkansas where black people were not welcome. These towns (called Sundown Towns) illustrate a dark part of American history, and according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, were not uncommon in the northwest part of Arkansas back then.
The play, which also received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts back in November, has been in the works for two years as part of TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play festival. When it opens officially on Feb. 4, it will feature the largest cast of performers in the history of TheatreSquared.
It will also feature performances of more than a dozen bluegrass, folk, and gospel songs by local band 3 Penny Acre.
Like I said, there’s a lot to be excited about.
The preview on the 18th will feature a forum on the production, the creative process behind it, and the history and relevance of real-life sundown towns in Northwest Arkansas. Ozarks at Large host Kyle Kellams will lead the discussion that will also feature Cohea, Sundown Town director Kevin Christopher Fox, and T2 artistic director Robert Ford. Cast members will perform a scene from the play, and the sneak preview is free to attend.
Tickets to the world premier of Sundown Town, showing at Nadine Baum Studios from Feb. 4-20, are available at TheatreSquared.org.
T2 Artists’ Forum: Sundown Town
When: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Fayetteville Public Library