CHELSEA — The Purple Rose Theatre is partnering with the Chelsea District Library to present the reading of a new play via Zoom on Saturday October 17 at 10:30 am. To register go HERE
The play, “Under Ceege,” is written by Jeffry Chastang, an actor and award-winning playwright from Inkster, MI. Actors are Madelyn Porter (Detroit) and Monrico Ward (Canton).
Here’s a brief conversation with Director Lynch Travis about this exciting event. In addition to being a Resident Artist at The Purple Rose Theatre, appearing most recently in “Flint” and “Morning After Grace,” he is the PRTC’s newly appointed Chief Diversity Enrichment Advisor. He is also the Workshop Director for the Detroit Repertory Theater and a board member of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of “Under Ceege”?
The play is set in Inkster, MI and explores the relationship between a mother and son, as they face the challenge of the sale by the son of her recently deceased long-term landlord of her nearly lifelong rented home.
How did you discover this play and what is your history with it?
The playwright, Jeffry Chastang, and I have known each other for a very long time. We’ve worked together as actors a number of times, and he was always writing something. I was also cast in a show he wrote called “…continued warm” directed by the late great Walter Dallas for Plowshares Theatre Company.
Over the years, as he’s developed scripts, it’s not uncommon for us to get together with other friends and do a reading of early drafts. On several occasions, I’ve directed formal staged readings of his work. This piece was something he shared with me early on and I had the privilege of workshopping it with him.
Have you worked with these actors before?
Yes, I have. Madelyn Porter, Monrico Ward and I go back to the beginning of my career as a Detroit professional actor. In fact, I met them around the same time in 1993 when Madelyn stage managed the production of Carson McCullers “Ballad of the Sad Café” that Mr. Ward and I were cast in.
Monrico and I’ve shared the stage together on many occasions including award winning productions of “East Texas Hot Links” (Eugene Lee) and “Jitney” (August Wilson).
Can you tell us about the PRTC’s diversity initiative?
Well, this reading is part of that initiative. A team of us at the Rose is working diligently to champion and encourage the voices and work of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander artists at the PRTC. Outreach and support are the tenets of this initiative and I know exciting experiences are ahead for The Purple Rose audience and the artists that will be involved.
Underwriting support for The Purple Rose Theatre Company comes from the Ford Motor Company Fund, The Hamp Family Fund, the Richard & Jane Manoogian Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, and the Matilda R. Wilson Fund.
About the Purple Rose Theatre Company
Founded in 1991 by actor, playwright, musician and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels, the Purple Rose Theatre Company is a creative home for original American plays. In the 168-seat, theatre patrons experience an intimate encounter with live professional theatre.
The Purple Rose Theatre Company is taking actionable steps to provide and increase opportunities for marginalized artists and theatre makers. We look forward to working with our staff, artists and patrons to create, live, and behave in ways that will respect and represent the wide diversity of souls who call the Midwest home.
As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre, the PRTC operates under a Small Professional Theatre agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association. For more information, visit www.purplerosetheatre.org.