John Crutchfield, one of the founding artistic associates of The Magnetic Theatre, has returned to Asheville after a two-year sojourn in Berlin, and he returns The Magnetic as a playwright with Malverse, an urban myth in two acts, directed by Magnetic artistic director Steven Samuels. The fruitful collaboration between Crutchfield and Samuels began with The Magnetic’s first production in 2009, the award-winning Songs of Robert, and continued with such audience favorites as Ruth, The Labyrinth, and Landscape with Missing Person. They are thrilled to be working together again.
Of Malverse, which is rooted in personal experience, Crutchfield says, “I can’t believe I’ve actually written a realistic play! Malverse is an urban legend/ghost story, and there’s a fair amount of twisted humor in it. But, basically, it’s a straight-up social drama dealing with the theme of race relations in the context of urban gentrification. Set in a small town very much like Asheville, the play tells the story of a young, middle-class white couple who renovate an old house in a traditionally African-American neighborhood. What they imagine as a fresh start turns out to implicate them in the complex and troubled history of the house itself, the family who lived there before, the neighborhood, the town, and the deeply divided American society of which they are a part. Although I started work on the play three years ago, the present political situation in this country, and in North Carolina, makes it eerily relevant. If there’s one thing that gives me hope, though, it’s the experience of seeing this wonderful and diverse cast work together. They embody the mutual respect and basic human goodness the play can only gesture towards.”
Malverse will be presented at Magnetic 375 (375 Depot Street in the River Arts District) Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 PM, May 11-June 3, at The Magnetic’s newly announced popular prices, $12 for previews, $16 for all other performances. This project is supported, in part, by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, through a Grassroots Grant from the Asheville Area Arts Council.
The Magnetic Theatre presents the world premiere of John Crutchfield’s Malverse (An Urban Myth in Two Acts), directed by Steven Samuels Starring Gary Gaines, Andrew Gall, Darren Marshall, Laura Tratnik, and Valeria Watson. Set design by John Crutchfield. Lighting design by Jason Williams. Costume design by Elizabeth Evans. Sound design by Mary Zogzas. Stage management by Deanna Braine. At Magnetic 375 (375 Depot Street in the River Arts District). Low-priced previews May 11 and 12. Opening night with free bubbly May 13. Continues Thursdays-Saturdays through June 3. All performances at 7:30 PM. Previews $12. All other performances $16. $10 student rush tickets available 15 minutes before curtain with valid I.D. Prices include taxes and fees. Tickets and info: www.themagnetictheatre.org. Info only: 828.239.9250.