When launching a new theater company in a big city, it helps to have a mission – among other things.
Beverly Jacob Daniel has such a mission as founder and artistic director of New Horizons Theater Co. – currently producing its second season at the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake.
The company aims to provide a forum for contemporary plays “seldom or never produced in the area,” as well as plays by and about women, and directed by women, Daniel says.
“The emphasis doesn’t mean our productions are only for female audiences, of course. Our current play, Sherry Kramer’s ‘The Wall of Water’, won the 1991 Women in Theater Award in Los Angeles,” Daniel says.
“But it is also a hilarious farce about four women sharing a Manhattan apartment. Anybody – man or woman – who ever dealt with the chaos of too many people in too small a space will find this show familiar and funny.”
Last season’s “Narrow Bed”, about a woman whose husband is missing in action in the Vietnam War, was well-received by male audiences, Daniel says, even though it focused on the wife’s response.
Emphasizing plays by and about women gives New Horizon two distinct advantages, according to Daniel – better plays and better performances.
“There are so many first-rate plays out there written by women that simply do not get the attention of plays written by men, probably because most artistic directors are men,” she says.
“The same goes for plays with strong female roles; the talent pool of actresses is much deeper in Dallas – and most places – than that of actors. Many people familiar with theater here have said that in any given production in this City, the actresses are apt to be stronger than the actors. There are simply more to pick from.”
“Wall of Water” is timely, not only as a play about women in The Year of the Woman, but also as a reflection of many of the cultural preoccupations of the ’90s that are not gender-specific.
Kramer, a young playwright, has a flare for putting her finger on our current obsessions. One of the young women is a fanatical nutritionist seeking God in the perfect food.
Another is sexually attracted only to prominent men and collects New York Times photos of her conquests. The third woman showers constantly to scrub off the city’s horde of germs.
The fourth member of the quartet is an all-around crazy, but it’s her rent-controlled apartment, and she must be humored. All understand the importance of a roof over their heads.
Coming this summer for New Horizons is Heather McKutcheon’s “Alabama Rain,” a dark comedy about five sisters, to be directed by Pamela Myers Morgan, assistant artistic director at the Dallas Theater Center.
“The Wall of Water” is on stage at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 East Lawther, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through May 15, with an additional 3 p.m. performance on closing day. Tickets are $10, with student and senior citizen discounts available. Call 504-6385.
May 1-21 – “Senses Beyond Sight” is an innovative visual art exhibition created specifically to provide a hands-on arts experience for the blind and visually impaired at D’Art Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss. Free; 821-2522.
May 1-31 – “The Kathy and Mo Show” at Pegasus Theatre, 3916 Main Street at Washington, is a reprise of the comedy wherein two women portray more than 30 male and female characters; Wednesdays-Saturdays. Tickets are $8-$12. Call 821-6008.
May 3-June 12 – Spring classes in sculpture, pottery, oil painting, welding and wood and stone carving are available at the Creative Arts Center, 2360 Laughlin, in northeast Dallas. A range of day and evening classes taught by Dallas artists such as Art Shirer and David Hickman are geared toward beginners through advanced artists. Tuition is $80 to $150 for the 10-week programs. Call 320-1275 for details.
May 5-29 – “The Swan”, Elizabeth Egloff’s adult fairy tale about a country woman who finds and cares for a wounded swan, begins at 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays. It is produced by Kitchen Dog Theatre at Undermain’s Elm Street Theater, 3202 Elm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Call 520-ARTS.
May 5 – Eastfield Chorus, directed by Harrell Lucky, performs at 7 p.m. at Eastfield College, 3737 Motley. Call 324-7100.