written by Jeff Talbott
February 9-25, 2017
Can a writer tell a story about the hardships of a life he’s never had to experience himself? Should he? If you’re Danny, a struggling playwright with years of rejection under your belt, you might think it’s your right — no, your duty — to tell that story. To submit your latest work (which you know is a masterpiece) and stand beside it, no matter what anyone thinks. Or… you might decide it’d be better for you to assume a false identity and hope no one catches on. So begins The Submission, the opening show in Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective’s 7th season. Since #OscarsSoWhite, the theatre and Hollywood have been criticized for their lack of diversity and whitewashing of characters. But is the attempt to diversify the stories we tell just another example of cultural appropriation? In other words — is it okay for a white writer to tell a black story?(Danny thinks, probably not.)Throughout The Submission, Danny, Pete, Trevor and Emilie must confront the ugliness of casual racism and the shock of how deeply they misunderstand each other — but they’ll have to work together to keep the truth from coming out. We can’t tell you much more about the plot without spoiling it, but we can say that it crackles with tension, from opening scene to curtain call.Managing artistic director (and director of The Submission) Steph Hickling Beckman, says, “I’m particularly excited about this play, 1) because of the questions it poses to the theatre community as a whole, and 2) it comes on the heels of last season’s Rasheeda Speaking, where, during one of our Post Show Discussions, we revealed that the writer of the play — about the inner turmoil of a black woman living in ‘post racial’ America — was a white male.” A portion of the proceeds from The Submission will go to Asheville Writers in the Schools (AWITS), a local non-profit that connects working writers with students, teachers, and community members to foster critical literacy skills, confident imaginations, and equitable relationships.Not only does Different Strokes! consistently seek out controversial and provocative plays, they seem to have a knack for pushing just the right buttons at just the right time — which is exactly what they’ve done with The Submission.Tickets are $18 in advance, and $21 at the door. A new online ticket vendor means no more fees for online ticket purchases (yay!). Tickets for opening weekend, which starts on February 9th, are only $15.
The Submission features: Jon Stockdale, Kirby Gibson, Travis Lowe, and Maximilian Lee Koger