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Drama Dept. to Open Season with Powerful ‘Every Tongue Confess’

Oct 03, 2014 |

The Drama Department will open its 2014-15 season on Oct. 9 with Marcus Gardley’s powerful drama, “Every Tongue Confess,” at the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Directed by Theresa M. Davis, “Every Tongue Confess” will be presented Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 15-17 at 8 p.m., with a matinee performance Oct. 19 at 2 p.m.

The production is presented with the support of the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, and in cooperation with U.Va.’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies.

Tickets are $14 ($12 for seniors and U.Va. Alumni Association members, $8 for students), and are available online, by calling 434-924-3376 or in person on weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. at the U.Va. Arts Box Office in the lobby of the Drama building.

Determined to help distraught newcomer Benny Pride (Madeleine Lawson, center), grave digger Jeremiah (Richard Cooper, left) and preacher Mother Sister (Angelica Jackson, right) set out to help Benny find her voice in the U.Va. Department of Drama’s production of  “Every Tongue Confess.”
Michael Bailey

“Every Tongue Confess” tells the story of small town Boligee, Alabama, where the soaring summer heat is compounded by a series of church burnings that have townspeople on edge and looking for a perpetrator. As the gossip mill churns, secrets escape and form intergenerational stories of love, loss and redemption – against a musical backdrop that combines soaring gospel and soul-drenching blues. Playwright Gardley deftly intertwines the town’s history, its TV news headlines and timeless Biblical lessons to create a fiery theatrical furnace in which some will be saved, some will be purged and the truth cannot escape.

The Washingtonian said, “Part magic realism, part miracle play, part parable, ‘Every Tongue Confess’ is a sort of epic theater-poem exploring sin, loss and redemption. … Gardley’s script combines humor with raw, searing emotion.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the play a “zestful musical tale imbued with rich folkloric comedy and contemporary truth-telling.”

Asked to characterize his work, Gardley recently said, “I want to make people dream. I want to inspire people, give them hope, talk about difficult things. Ask big questions. … My hope in all my works is to look at history in a new way, to tell the stories that we don’t know, the stories that were hidden.”

Season subscribers will receive priority access to seat reservations and fee-free ticket exchanges and replacements. Subscription packages for 2014-15 are now available and include tickets to all five productions. Subscriptions are $60 ($55 for seniors, U.Va. faculty and staff, and Alumni Association members, and $40 for students).

Free parking for all performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, located alongside the theaters.