The Alabama Story

 

written by Kenneth Jones

February 8th-24th

directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman

In the two-act Alabama Story, a gentle children’s book with an apparent hidden message stirs the passions of a segregationist State Senator and a no-nonsense State Librarian in 1959 Montgomery,  Alabama, just as the civil rights movement is flowering. Another story of childhood friends — an African-American man and a woman of white privilege, reunited in adulthood in Montgomery that same year — provides private counterpoint to the public events of the play.
The drama is playful, serious, smart, funny, dark and hopeful all at once. The Cape Cod Times wrote that the play “artfully explores Southern attitudes when the civil rights movement is catching fire” and that “Jones effectively unites the political and personal.”
The Alabama Story — a humor-laced social-justice drama that’s a vest-pocket cousin to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — was a 2016 nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Florida Studio Theatre artistic director Richard Hopkins, himself a Southerner, called Alabama Story “probably the best Southern play I’ve read in 10 or 20 years.” – Kenneth Jones

Eleemosynary

written by Lee Blessing

June 14th-28th

directed by Kristi DeVille

Staged with utmost simplicity, using platforms and a few props, the play probes into the delicate relationship of three singular women: the grandmother, Dorothea, who has sought to assert her independence through strong-willed eccentricity; her brilliant daughter, Artie (Artemis), who has fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artie’s daughter, Echo, a child of exceptional intellect—and sensitivity—whom Artie has abandoned to an upbringing by Dorothea. As the play begins, Dorothea has suffered a stroke, and while Echo has reestablished contact with her mother, it is only through extended telephone conversations, during which real issues are skirted and their talk is mostly about the precocious Echo’s single-minded domination of a national spelling contest. But, in the end, after Dorothea’s death, both Artie and Echo come to accept their mutual need and summon the courage to try, at last, to build a life together—despite the risks and terrors that this holds for both of them after so many years of alienation and estrangement.
Sensitive and probing, this masterful play examines the subtle and often perilous relationship between three remarkable women: a young girl, her mother, and her grandmother. “…a play and a production of a caliber rarely seen on the Philadelphia stage…the language is elegant, witty and carefully wrought.” —Philadelphia City Paper. “…an engrossing 95-minute entry—alternately funny and poignant…” —Variety. “It is a wonderful job of playwriting.” —Minneapolis Star and Tribune. “…a funny, perceptive and eloquently written play…” —St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch.

Every Brilliant Thing

written by Duncan MacMillan

August 9th-25th

starring Mondy Carter
directed by Karen Stobbe

You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s “done something stupid.” She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. A play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.

“[A] heart-wrenching, hilarious play…One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop…There is something tough being confronted here—the guilt of not being able to make those we love happy—and it is explored with unflinching honesty.” —The Guardian (UK). “EVERY BRILLIANT THING finds a perfect balance between conveying the struggles of life, and celebrating all that is sweet in it.” —The Independent (London). “What Macmillan offers, with great sensitivity behind the abundant laughs, is a child’s fierce, flawed attempt to make sense of adult unhappiness and a meditation on the shadow that a loved one’s depression casts over the lives of a family.” —Evening Standard (London). “…very charming…offers sentimentality without shame…guaranteed to keep your eyes brimming…[The script] balance[s] acuity and affability…with unobtrusive artistry…captivating…” —NY Times. “[EVERY BRILLIANT THING] is sad, but it is also gloriously funny and exceptionally warm. It’s a show that spells out a little of what depression can do to people, but it also highlights the irrepressible resilience of the human spirit and the capacity to find delight in the everyday.” —Time Out (London).

12 Angry Jurors

 

written by Reginald Rose

October 4th-20th

directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman

A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. “He doesn’t stand a chance,” mutters one of 12 jurors. It looks like an open-and-shut case—until another of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts. “This is a remarkable thing about democracy,” says the foreign-born juror, “that we are notified by mail to come down to this place—and decide on the guilt or innocence of a person; of a man or woman we have not known before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. We should not make it a personal thing.” But personal it is, with each juror revealing his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become angrier and angrier. The jurors’ final verdict and how they reach it—add up to a fine, mature piece of dramatic literature.
Originally set in 1956 and titled 12 Angry Men, the once all-white, all male play has been updated to a more modern setting and features  diverse cast of men and women

 

Introducing Asheville's Newest Performing Arts Venue: The DownStage

The (New)Home of Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective - Coming in Spring 2018

Whether it’s left, right, or center stage, Down stage is where the most memorable scenes of any performance take place. Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective, the Company which prides itself on Making Theatre That Makes a Difference, began making plans to open the DownStage Performing Arts Center, in downtown Asheville’s thriving South Slope district. As one of the only public venues in Asheville, dedicated to the growth and nurture of the performing arts, this flexible,120 seat venue, with onsite parking,will serve as a permanent home for Different Strokes!, and as an additional performance and rehearsal venue for other performing artists and groups​.

Please consider becoming a part of our mission to build a lasting legacy to Asheville’s growing  performing arts community. Your financial contribution is a vital part of helping us to expand Different Strokes’! vision of excellence, develop new programs and projects, turn new ideas into reality, and executing innovative ways of serving our community and region. Time is of the essence as we begin equipping our new space with a stage, lights, sound, seats and essentials to make this potential space into an inviting performance venue. Please make your generous and tax deductible donation today.

Watch our progress and be inspired along with us as we grow!

Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective Inc. is a 501(c) 3 certified non-profit organization committed to Making Theatre, Building Community, Facilitating Awareness, and Changing The World, (One Play at a Time). We believe that audiences look to the arts to see beyond themselves and their own boundaries. We believe the arts are a valuable educational tool capable of bridging cultural and social gaps. We believe the arts are a catalyst for social change and transformation. We will  increase and sustain opportunities for more diversity within the Western North Carolina performing arts community, by producing, and working with other performance artists or groups to present works which confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way; and by providing opportunities for audiences to explore visions of our diverse world.

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