Theater Emory to premiere Frank Manley's `Married Life'

The world premiere of playwright Frank Manley's newest work, Married Life, produced by Theater Emory, opened Jan. 26 and will run through Feb. 17. The play features three variations on marriage, each told by an unreliable narrator. Directed by Vincent Murphy, artistic producing director of Theater Emory, the main characters--a prison guard and his wife, a retired military man and a housekeeper--explore their desire to find a mate.

The play previews Wednesday, Jan. 31, and opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1. Married Life was originally scheduled to run through Feb. 11, but due to strong advance ticket sales, performances have been extended to Feb. 17. Matinees will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4; Saturday, Feb. 10; and Sunday, Feb. 11. All other performances-- Feb. 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17--begin at 8 p.m. in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater, Dobbs Center.

"Married Life is a disturbing and humorous meditation on the practical and spiritual search for our own other half," said Murphy. "Frank Manley's greatest gift, as demonstrated in The Evidence, The Trap and Married Life, is his skill at dramatizing the very human inability to see from another perspective. We recognize that stubborn, closed-off aspect of ourselves that is baffled by those unlike us."

Theater Emory has premiered all of Manley's plays, including The Evidence (produced off Broadway), The Trap (produced at the Alliance Theatre) and Two Masters: A Play in Two Parts (which shared the first-place award at the 1985 Humana Festival of Actors' Theater of Louisville). Manley is director of the Creative Writing Program and Charles Howard Candler Professor of Renaissance Literature.

Cast in the first variation, "Badass," are Atlanta actor Janice Akers as "Roberta" and Emory faculty member/actor Tim McDonough as "John." Cast in "Cutty," the second variation, "Mister Butterfly," is Atlantan Jim Peck. Emory instructor/actor Brenda Bynum plays the part of "Mary" in the final variation, "The Housekeeper."

Following each performance of Married Life will be a performance of Manley's 10-minute play What? about two women on an Atlanta bus. Offered as part of Emory's Black History Month celebration, performances of What? are free and will begin approximately two hours after the start of Married Life. Atlanta actors Leah Burnette and Teresa DeBerry are cast as "Mattie" and "Margaret."

Production design includes lighting by Emory instructor Judy Zanotti; costumes by Nancye Hilley; set by Rob Medley; and sound by Klimchak. Technical director is Emory instructor Wm. Moore.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at 727-6187.

-- Joyce Bell