Lunch with Poet Laureate & Playwright Rita Dove at Georgia Perimeter College

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“Ten years ago, on a trip to London, I saw a wonderful production of an extraordinary play at the National Theatre — THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (and former Poet Laureate of the United States), Rita Dove. It re-imagined the myth of Oedipus, from Greek Tragedy, setting it on a slave plantation in the American South. I fully expected this play to take America by storm but, to date, it hasn’t received a professional production in the Southeast. The Essential Theatre is thrilled to be bringing this stunning play to Atlanta audiences, this summer, as part of the 2010 Essential Theatre Play Festival. And it was especially thrilling to be able to meet Rita Dove, who appeared in Atlanta this past weekend, to serve as Keynote Speaker for Georgia Perimeter College’s annual birthday celebration for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ms. Dove spoke with WABE Between the Lines host, Valerie Jackson about her new book Sonata Mullatica. To learn more about this book, please visit her website and

Ms. Dove was very gracious in greeting myself and Betty Hart (who will direct the play), along with Dr. Mark Perloe, the President of our Board of Directors. Betty was able to chat briefly with Ms. Dove, and make arrangements to discuss the play with her by phone. We’re excited to have this distinguished author’s input on what we think will be a theatre event that all Atlanta audiences will want to see.

We also had the opportunity to meet and talk with Mark Fitten, editor of the Chattahoochee Review,and Rob Jenkins, chair of the GPC Writer’s Institute and Jack Riggs, writer-in-residence, and found out that they have an interest in reaching out to playwrights as well as the prose and fiction writers they have usually published and worked with. We hope that this will help the Essential Theatre in their efforts to support and develop new dramatic work by Georgia writers.” ~ Peter Hardy