What People are Saying about Essential’s Productions

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Darker Face of the Earth
by Rita Dove, directed by Betty Hart
The Georgia Premiere of a stunning tragic drama by a Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American poet (and former Poet Laureate of the United States). The classic story of Oedipus is re-imagined on a slave plantation in the American South.
Adult situations, with some violence. VIDEO

“A luminous choreopoem that shows off the strengths of a strong supporting ensemble …A scintillating meditation on the shifting balance of power between master and servant, husband and wife, “The Darker Face of the Earth” transports the mythology of classical literature to the landscape of the Old South, which cultivated its own imitative and monumental style of Greek architecture, romance, heroism and war…. Replete with a chorus, soothsayers, dreams and symbols … A commendable job of displaying Dove’s glorious gift for language and storytelling.”
Wendell Brock, Atlanta Journal Constitution

“For those of you lucky enough to be seeing THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH tonight, you are in for a treat! I saw the preview – and was mesmerized … ensemble, direction, movement, musc, story, staging and set, lighting.”
Jackie Scott Prucha

“I was mesmerized. Everyone needs to see it!”
Yolanda Asher

“Saw two fine pieces of theatre this weekend that both happened to be great tragedies: King Lear at Georgia Shakespeare and THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTHh at the Essential Theatre.”
Joe Gfaller

“I thoroughly enjoyed THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH at Essential Theatre last week. Sweeping, stirring. Betty Hart directed a wonderful production.”
Vynnie Meli

Sally and Glen at the Palace
by Peter Hardy, directed by Ellen McQueen
The Georgia Premiere of a comic drama about the growing friendship between two very different college students working together in the lobby of a 1970s movie theatre in a southern university town. Winner of a New Southern Theatre Festival Playwriting Award. VIDEO

“Peter Hardy has given us a touching and intimate work that’s an absolute must for cinephiles! Ellen McQueen directed this production brought to life by Kate Graham and Jacob York. Kudos to you all! And thank you, Peter.”
Scott Poythress, Actor

“Playwright Peter Hardy’s script was wonderful, the acting was superb. So funny and poignant in the first act. So poignant and more serious in the second. I left with a big smile and one tear. I’m going to see it again later in the run.”
Letitia Sweitzer

“This show is elegantly written — touching and smart. I saw it once on my own, I plan to bring my wife to it again.”
Hank Kimmel

“Sally and Glen at the Palace” by Peter Hardy, part of Essential Theatre’s Play festival was just great! The acting is A+ and the staging wonderful. And a terrific script that will make you laugh and move you. So, treat yourself to a terrific play.”
James Beck

“An excellent play! Bittersweet, and true.”
Ann Neff

“I was very impressed with the writing, performances and direction. The evolving relationship between Sally and Glen is funny, moving and poignant. It had me laughing and crying. If you’re a film buff, then you’ll really appreciate all the references and comments about the films at the Palace in the 70’s. “Sally and Glen at the Palace” deserves a longer run. I hope theatres in Atlanta and across the country will consider adding it to their season.”
Yolanda Asher

“It’s a good-hearted show with a light touch that spins into something surprisingly tender and profound at the end, it moves fast, and if you’re a film buff (especially of ’70s films) you’ll be in paradise. Clever set and direction and solid acting, too.”
Karla Jennings