Hope Mirlis ’93C


Finding Synchronicity

As the lights dim at the Seven Stages Theatre in Atlanta’s Little Five Points, a group of women with experimental hairstyles and freshly applied makeup take their seats for a showing of Be Aggressive, a play about cheerleading and death described as “When Bring It On meets Six Feet Under.”

This is the grand finale of the Drama Queen Club girls’ night out, which involved makeovers, palm readings, mini-massages, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a viewing of the play, at forty dollars apiece.

“Welcome to all the ladies over here who started out this evening by getting all glammed up,” says Hope Mirlis ’93C, one of the organizers of the event. “And thank you for supporting live theater.”

Mirlis is a founding member of Synchronicity Performance Group, a theater company that seeks to produce “fearless, fresh, and thought-provoking” plays in Atlanta. Drama Queen Night, which promises to be a continuing event, is one of many creative ways Synchronicity (www.synchrotheatre.com) promotes community theater.

Synchronicity began because its founders, which included Mirlis and directors Rachel May and Michele Pearce, saw a lack of cutting-edge works locally, especially ones with juicy roles for women at all levels of production.

“We gathered as a group of artists–writers, photographers, musicians, actors, and directors–because no one was doing the work we were doing. There weren’t a lot of exciting collaborative works happening,” says Mirlis, who was a theater major at Emory. “What we’re really passionate about is the work of women as well as community involvement.”

The company aims for three shows for adults and two for families per season. Be Aggressive, an award-winning dark comedy by Los Angeles playwright Annie Weisman, was directed by May and had a nearly all female cast. The recent family show, How High Is Up?, based on a Vietnamese folk tale, dealt with a small girl coping with her grandmother’s death.

Mirlis is frustrated that the greater Atlanta audience isn’t aware of the range of arts events available to them locally, including Synchronicity shows.

“We have sponsors for most every show, or we use grant money. We’ve got a very vibrant arts community here beyond the Fox and the Alliance, and there’s a lot of great work going on. But it is not extremely supported by the community at large or the media,” Mirlis says. “This makes our lives very difficult since we can’t afford much advertising. Until we have a celebrity in a play, it’s not news.”

For the flock of Drama Queens in attendance at this evening’s play, however, just feeling like a celebrity for the evening was good enough.—M.J.L.



© 2005 Emory University