University Theatre will open its 2006-2007 season with Balm in Gilead, Lanford Wilson’s gritty mosaic of New York City outcasts.
Directed by Kristin Kundert-Gibbs, assistant professor of performance in the theatre and film studies department, Balm in Gilead will start at 8 p.m. Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 27-30 and at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 in Cellar Theatre in the Fine Arts Building at the corner of Lumpkin and Baldwin streets.
Regular admission is $10; admission for students and senior citizens with ID is $8. Tickets may be purchased at the University Theatre box office, located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building and open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays. Tickets also will be available at the door one hour prior to show time. Reservations may be made in advance by calling the box office at (706) 542-2838.
Balm in Gilead is set in Frank’s Diner, a run-down dive and a sanctuary for all manner of night crawlers of the New York street scene. In the midst of the junkies, hookers and crazies whizzing in and out of the diner, we meet Joe, a young street kid who finds himself fatally trapped in a drug deal gone bad.
The characters are searching for “balm” to heal their tired souls, Kundert-Gibbs said.
“The play returns to where it began,” she said, “sending them into a never-ending circle of hurt and pain.”
But, she said, the play is ultimately hopeful: “The play encourages us to keep looking, keep searching for that balm,” she said.
Despite the play’s serious message, the rambunctious staging and fast-paced dialogue is often downright funny. Humor helps these folks to cope, according to Kundert-Gibbs.
“We grow to know the characters, care about them, laugh with them, ache with them, hope with them as they weave their lives into the grit and grime of a second-rate, all-night diner where they come for companionship and security,” she said.
Balm in Gilead contains violence, sexuality and strong language and may not be appropriate for young children.