Triad Stage

Posts by Triad Stage

Triad Stage is a North Carolina theater company that produces and performs live, professional theater in the Piedmont Triad region. With local and national talent, a focus on artistic excellence, and a distinctly Southern voice, Triad Stage offers a wide sampling of quality theater, including original works and re-imagined classics. You can see Triad Stage’s work at two world-class performance venues in the state: The Pyrle Theater in Greensboro and Hanesbrands Theatre in Winston-Salem.

Triad Stage’s 2017-2018 Season Revealed!



On a balmy February morning in Winston-Salem, and again on a balmy February evening in Greensboro, we announced our next Season of producing world-class professional theater in the Triad.

We won’t lie, we were pretty excited. And once our gathered guests in both cities heard the titles we’ve lined up, they were even MORE excited.

Our Founding Artistic Director Preston Lane had this to say about his hopes for Season 17:

“We want to make theater that makes you laugh, makes you think and makes you talk about it.” 

So that’s exactly what we will aim to do. Over the coming weeks you’ll hear all the ways you can join us for our biggest season ever, but without further ado, we give you the lineup:

2017-2018 SEASON

A grand musical
Composed by Richard Rodgers with Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan
September 17 – October 8, 2017 at The Pyrle Theater (Greensboro)
Triad Stage, in partnership with UNC Greensboro, brings to life one of Broadway’s most iconic musicals. The world is at war, and on an island in the South Pacific the U.S. has created a military stopover for young men on their way to the front lines of battle. But love is also in the air. Emotions run high as a Midwestern nurse and a young lieutenant each navigate the treacherous waters of unfamiliar cultures and new romances. Winner of the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific will sweep you away with the delightful cast of characters and unforgettable songs like “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” and “Younger Than Springtime.” Triad Stage invites you to be part of its most ambitious production to date.


A hit comedy
By Jonathan Tolins
October 11 – October 22, 2017 at The Hanesbrands Theatre (Winston-Salem)
Alex More, a not-so-successful actor somewhere north of 30, finds himself in the basement of one of Hollywood’s biggest icons. Hired to operate the shopping mall – complete with stores and a food court – in the basement of one of the houses on the star’s estate, Alex spends most of his days alone dusting and dreaming – until one day a bell rings, a door opens and he’s standing toe-to-toe with the celebrity herself. Jonathan Tolins’ hilarious 2013 Drama Desk Award-winning one-man show tackles the luxury and loneliness of celebrity.


A holiday classic
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Preston Lane
November 24 – December 24, 2017 at The Hanesbrands Theatre (Winston-Salem)
Ebenezer Scrooge’s last chance is one night and three spirits. It’s a life-changing ride through past, present and future as he learns what it means to be human. Triad Stage brings Dickens’ classic story to life in a dazzling production brimming with bold acting, daring design and spine-tingling special effects. Returning for the 5th year to The Hanesbrands Theatre, A Christmas Carol is a ghostly tale of Yuletide cheer, gracious redemption and heart-warming hope for the whole family.


A seasonal celebration
By Preston Lane
Original music by Laurelyn Dossett
December 3 – December 24, 2017 at The Pyrle Theater (Greensboro)
This winter Triad Stage invites you to come home again for the holidays. We take you to the peaks of the Blue Ridge where Reverend Roy Ledbetter and all the members of the Open Heart Community Fellowship have been working hard to fill your holidays with joy. Starting with Genesis and going all the way to the Nativity, they spin a holiday story with down-home laughter, toe-tappin’ music and a tug at the heartstrings. Come experience the joy and wonder that has made Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity the biggest hit in Triad Stage’s history. Presented by The Carroll Companies.


A groundbreaking classic
By Lorraine Hansberry
January 28 – February 18, 2018 at The Pyrle Theater (Greensboro)
In a cramped apartment on the south side of Chicago, a struggling family awaits a life insurance payment that could change their circumstances. Matriarch Lena dreams of a nice house in a nicer neighborhood. Daughter Beneatha has her eye on medical school, while son Walter is scheming to buy a liquor store. Lorraine Hansberry’s searing drama about the struggle to achieve the American Dream in the face of racial tensions and economic disenfranchisement changed the face of American theater, and remains no less relevant today.


A beloved classic
By Thornton Wilder
February 14 – February 25, 2018 at The Hanesbrands Theatre (Winston-Salem)
For the citizens of Grover’s Corners, life is sweet. The doctor makes house calls, the teenage boy delivers the paper and the Boy-Next-Door meets the Girl-Next-Door. Set in an All-American small town at the turn of the century, this 80th anniversary production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a heartwarming and deeply moving reminder to appreciate life while one has it and to relish every moment – no matter how mundane it seems – for it is those small moments that are truly miraculous. A partnership production with UNC School of the Arts.


A family drama
By Paula Vogel
April 4 – 15, 2018 at The Hanesbrands Theatre (Winston-Salem)
Navigating time and place as one would a winding highway, Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes its audience on a complicated and surprisingly funny journey through the life of Lil Bit as she learns the rules of the road and the facts of life behind the wheel of her Uncle Peck’s car. How I Learned to Drive explores the dark side roads that families sometimes go down, and how what we learn and the experiences we have along the way drive us. This contemporary classic tackles the aftermath of sexual abuse in a powerful story of survival.


A scandalous thriller
By Preston Lane
April 29 – May 20, 2018 at The Pyrle Theater (Greensboro)
Triad Stage returns to Hawboro, this time to the wrong side of the tracks. A young woman beleaguered by her husband and terrorized by her mother-in-law finds comfort in the arms of another man. They carry out a plot meant to free Teresa, but the repercussions of their actions haunt them and threaten to drive them to madness. Join Triad Stage for this World Premiere loosely inspired by Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin.


And there you have it, folks! Season 17.

Will we see YOU at the theater?

An Interview with Olivia Trees, Costume Designer for ‘The Price’

Olivia Trees

Olivia Trees

Each year, Triad Stage hosts a designer through the Southeastern Theater Conference’s Ready to Work Awards, a competitive program that places them at professional theaters early in their careers. This year’s award winner is Olivia Trees, a costume designer and MFA Graduate Candidate in her final year at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. We stole a few minutes of her time to ask her about the Ready for Work Award and her design process just before rehearsals for Arthur Miller’s The Price (January 29 – February 19) began earlier this week.


Triad Stage: What was the SETC Ready to Work Award competition process like, and how did you feel when you were awarded the designer position at Triad Stage?

Olivia Trees: The award sponsors looked through all the design competition entries, and SETC then posted a list of who the theatres wanted to interview. Everyone signed up for a time to meet with their theatre representatives. I met with Preston Lane and Bryan Conger. I showed them my resume and website and had a very pleasant conversation. I felt sad when our 10 minutes were up. They strongly hinted about giving me the award, but were unsure at first because I was still going to be a graduate student this year. They have only previously given it to graduating students. So, when the award was announced later that evening, I was incredibly excited for the opportunity. I had heard so much about Triad from the previous award winner, Josafath Reynoso, who also happened to attend the University of Tennessee with me, that I couldn’t wait to work with Preston and the rest of the team.

'A Shayna Maidel' photo by Brynn Yeager

‘A Shayna Maidel’ photo by Brynn Yeager

TS: When was the moment you realized you wanted to be a costume designer?

OT: I think it was senior year of high school. I had been competing in the Thespian Society design competitions since 8th grade, and I loved working on the annual school musical, but makeshift high school theatre left me feeling very disillusioned about the whole thing. Then, I was given a ticket to see the touring production of Camelot. It was a beautiful, professional production that seemed so incredibly magical. I realized the potential theatre had to be an experience that could deeply affect audiences in any number of ways. It certainly moved me into a great career that I love.


TS: What has been your favorite costume you’ve designed so far?

OT: I think that would have to be Elizabeth Proctor from my recent thesis production of The Crucible. It was a fairly simple costume, but she looked great and the actress was fantastic. We were going for a rougher, more “real” look than many other productions, so I was using a lot of textured fabrics and natural fibers. I gave her a blue wool skirt and a blue gray linen peplum bodice which combined with her apron, cap, and fichu supported this demure yet strong character.

'The Crucible' photo by Brynn Yeager

‘The Crucible’ photo by Brynn Yeager

TS: What are your favorite materials to work with?

OT: I would say natural fibers in general: silk, wool, linen, cotton. They drape well, they look amazing on stage, and in my opinion, they feel much better to wear than synthetic fibers. I try to use them whenever possible.


TS: Can you walk us through the process of working on a new project?

OT: When beginning a new project, you always begin and end with the script. If your designs don’t support the play, then it won’t be a very successful production. After a read, you’ll meet with the director and hopefully the design team to discuss what he or she wants the audience to get from the play and what the general vision is. After some more reading and a lot of research, the designers come back to the table with preliminary sketches and ideas. The refinement process continues between the designers and director until he or she approves the final designs. This might take two meetings, it might take twenty; it depends on the production and the people involved. Then, the designs move to the shops. As the designer, clear communication and trying to be on top of purchasing fabrics or pulling stock garments is vital to a smooth process.

'A Lesson Before Dying' photo by Olivia Trees

‘A Lesson Before Dying’ photo by Olivia Trees

TS: What are the rewards and challenges of collaborating with a team who is responsible for bringing your vision to life?

OT: In a shop, it can be a challenge to work with so many different minds and personalities. Sometimes you meet someone that you don’t get along with very well, or there are clashing ideas about how to solve a problem, but the work has to get done, so you find a way to work through it. Theatre is a collaborative art, and everyone is there to create something hopefully moving and memorable. So, that opening night is always rewarding because whether or not everyone is best friends, the group is what makes theatre happen.


TS: What are you most looking forward to during your time here at Triad Stage?

OT: Apart from getting to meet a wide group of great new people, I am curious about the experience of being an out-of-town designer. Until now, I have always resided in the place where I am working on a show. It’s easy to go into stock for 10 minutes here and there to find a new piece to the puzzle, but this time I have to rely on a shop that is several hours away instead of in the next room. This experience has emphasized to me just how important clear communication is.

Costume sketches for 'The Price'

Costume sketches for ‘The Price’

TS: What play or movie would be your dream design project?

OT: I really don’t have a specific project in mind. I love history and reading about how people of the past lived, so for me, any kind of period movie or play would be interesting to work on.


We’re so excited to see Olivia’s work come to life in our production of Arthur Miller’s The Price (January 29 – February 19). Be sure you get your tickets early!

Two Triad Stage Designers Take the International Stage

hart-headshotTwo Triad Stage designers will be featured on the international stage at World Stage Design 2017 in Taipei. Finalists were announced today.

Natalie Taylor Hart, Assistant Professor at Elon University, has been selected as a finalist in the Professional Designers Exhibition alongside 120 other designers for her work on Fences (April 2016). Her design will be exhibited at the event and in the digital portfolio at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts at the Taipei National University of the Arts in Taipei from 1 July to 9 July, 2017. Natalie is also slated to design for Triad Stages upcoming production of Having Our Say (February 22 – March 5, 2017 at the Hanesbrands Theatre).

Natalie Taylor Hart's design for FENCES.

Natalie Taylor Hart’s design for FENCES.

large_avatar_496666_esguu_ohz3lpjevbbobxcvqom-2Josafath Reynoso, props master, chief scenic designer, and assistant professor at Southeast Missouri State University, will be featured in the Emerging Designers Exhibition alongside 60 other early-career designers for his work on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (September 2015). Josafath came to Triad Stage through the Southeastern Theatre Conference as a winner of the Ready-to-Work program.


Josafath Reynoso's design for CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

Josafath Reynoso’s design for CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

Since its launch in 2005, World Stage Design has attracted thousands of visitors and participants from across the globe. The event is produced every four years, and provides attendees and participants with an opportunity to experience the best in theatre design, performances, workshops, seminars, and thought-provoking exhibitions.

World Stage Design 2017 will exhibit jury-selected work from 120 professional designers and 60 emerging designers from 36 countries. The 2017 awards will be announced at World Stage Design 2017 on July 5, 2017.

Beautiful Star: The Mixtape



The Beautiful Star Mixtape is comprised of all the songs Artistic Apprentice Kamilah Bush overheard members of the cast and crew randomly sing in rehearsal.

Just the Two of Us – Bill Withers
I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner
A Whole New World – Aladdin
Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
Tomorrow – Annie
Wade in the Water – Mavis Staple
And I am Telling You – Dreamgirls
Whip It – Devo
Move Bitch – Ludacris
Let’s Do it Again – Staple Singers
Kiss – Prince
Take the A Train – Duke Ellington
Folgers Theme Song
Keep on Truckin’ – Eddie Kendricks
Changes – David Bowie
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
She’s a Lady – Tom Jones
Mmmbop! – Hanson
Here I Go Again – White Snake
Move your Feet – Junior Senior
What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Aretha Franklin
I Want You Back – Jackson 5
Tipsy – J-Kwon
One Way or Another – Blondie
It’s All Over – Dreamgirls
Any Way You Want It – Journey

Most likely to burst into song: Nick Relos
Second most likely to burst into song (tie): Bryant Carroll and Lawrence Evans
Honorable Mentions: Ric Robertson and Danielle Hopkins

They also occasionally sing songs from the show, and if you haven’t caught a performance yet, get to booking! And Friday December 9th and 16th you can join the band and special guests in concert after the performance.

We’ll see you at the theater!

Holidays Away From Home

While there’s glamour and excitement in the theater life, there are challenges for our actors and creative team when they’re working so hard to make the holidays magical for our audiences that they have less time to enjoy the season with their own loved ones.

Some of the cast of Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity and A Christmas Carol shared some of their thoughts on the holiday season with us, and we thought we’d share them with you.


erin-burniston-headshotErin Burniston (Ethel Green | Beautiful Star)

“While in Greensboro and away from home during the holidays, to keep them special I try to keep up as many of my favorite traditions as possible.  My parents and I have quite a few movies that we like to watch during the holidays – instead of waiting until I return home to watch all of them, we pick days throughout December to watch the movies at the same time on our respective couches, and text throughout to share our favorite moments of them together.”

emmaclaire-johnson-headshotEmma-Claire Frances Johnson (Myrtle Ledbetter | Beautiful Star)

“The holidays are special to me because I get time off of school to be with my family and do what I want to do.  My family has a tradition of having fondue on Christmas Eve so I look forward to that time with my family and grandparents.  I love getting and giving presents and going to church with my family on Christmas Day.  When I’m not at TS I keep the holidays special by helping my family decorate the house, cooking/baking with my mom, watching TV with my brother and spending time with my family when they come into town for the shows!”

greg-brostromGreg Brostrom (Tidence Ledbetter | Beautiful Star)

“All the trappings of the holidays are symbols for the intangible parts of it: being together with those you love among others. So I always try to treat myself to one of the symbols in a small way to remind myself of that and connect to those I care about who may be far away. For example this Thanksgiving here in Greensboro I’m not going to cook an entire turkey just for me, but you better believe I’m going to have a little. No turkey matches my mom’s, but it’s the symbol of it that I care about when I’m away from home.”

david-sitlerDavid Sitler (Scrooge | A Christmas Carol)

“Not a Scrooge answer but being with family…be it my natural one or the one we have grown into while mounting and performing and ultimately giving the gift of ourselves and talents to the people who come to see us. I love watching the Macy’s day parade especially all the talented Broadway casts that perform before the parade kicks off…while the aromas of the turkey in the oven waft thru out the house.  For a couple of years I was in the parade as part of the Marvel Universe as Robo Cop and other super heroes…but that is another story.  When I am on the road for the holiday I like to help in a soup kitchen or food pantry and find a local church to become a part of their community and service.  “

*This year David found time to help serve lunch on Thanksgiving at the Samaritan Ministries in Winston-Salem. Way to help out, David!

camille-02Camille Varenne (Linda Green  Beautiful Star)

“At the holidays I like to:

  1. Eat lots of food, especially my Dad’s mashed potatoes!  #favorite  : )
  2. I try to give my love.
  3. I try to make sure nobody is sad.”



paul-gunterPaul Gunter (Beggar/Edward Cratchit/Boy on the Street | A Christmas Carol)

“Whenever I do have time I want to take advantage of it. It’s the small things at Christmas that can mean the most. Like family, my family always makes me happy on the holidays.”




Holiday Cheer: Spotlight on Nonprofits


The holidays are one of our favorites times of the year here at Triad Stage. We’ve got our holidays shows Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity and A Christmas Carol starting up the day after Thanksgiving and running through Christmas Eve in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and our downtown locations in both cities put us right at the heart of the Triad’s seasonal festivities and merriment.

We also know that the holidays are times of giving back and spreading thanks. We went through some tough times last year, and are so grateful for the support of our fans and the Triad community. So in honor of the season, we’re taking an opportunity to spread our arms a little wider and call our thanks a little louder with our new program Spotlight on Nonprofits.

At each holiday performance of Beautiful Star in Greensboro and A Christmas Carol in Winston-Salem, we’ll be highlighting a different nonprofit working right here in our community to make life better for the people who call this place home. We’re right in the thick of sign-ups, but here’s who has already agreed to participate:

Able Earth, Arts for Life, The Beautiful Exchange, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Creative Aging Network, Emerging Ecology, Family Support Network, First North Carolina, Greensboro Housing Coalition, HandsOn, IRC, Komen NWNC, Second Harvest Food Bank, SECU Family House, Reading Connections, Wheels 4 Hope, Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro

Each participating nonprofit will have a table in the lobby to display information before and after the show, and as a special thank you we’re all giving each organization four tickets to the performance they’re spotlighted at.

If you work at or know of a nonprofit in Guilford or Forsyth County that would be interested in participating, please contact Tiffany Albright, Marketing Manager, at



InSight Speaker: John Poole

john poole
John Poole, Associate Professor and the new director of the School of Theatre at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, (UNCG) will be the InSight speaker for Arms and the Man, the opening production of Triad Stage’s 16th Season which begins on September 11th.

Born in North Carolina, Dr. Poole attended the University of Georgia in Athens and earned a doctoral degree in theatre history in 1955. From there, he went on to become the Director of Theatre and Dance at the University of Illinois. Former students of Poole’s say his lectures are animated, and it’s obvious he has a passion for theater and teaching. While serving e as Director of Theatre and Dance, he also spent five years as  the Managing Director of the well-known annual Shakespeare Festival. He is published in several journals including Theatre History Studies, which highlights expressive articles on theatre history.

During this 2016-2017 academic school year, Arms and the Man is among the events featured in UNCG’s War and Peace Imagined series, a project dedicated to exploring themes of war and peace within arts and humanities while examining how factors such as nationalism, religion, geography, class, race and gender play a role in conflict. The series was inspired by the Centennial Anniversary of World War I. This is the second series to be featured on the calendar at UNCG, the first occurring in 2014, the Globe & Cosmos, focusing on the celebration of 450 years Galileo and Shakespeare. These series are community engaging events within the Triad. Don’t miss out on this lecture you are certain to enjoy!

Please join us directly following the matinee showing of Arms and the Man on September 18th, where Poole will share InSights and provide some fascinating context for  the production. InSight lectures are free and open to the public. Visit the Triad Stage website for more details.

What’s the alternative?

Dear Friends,

It’s night in Ireland and I returned to my hotel room to do a bit of writing.  I think this hotel is an ideal spot for working. Opened in 1845, the fading elegance suggests the ghost of any number of fabulous characters.  I’ve opened up a bottle of Writer’s Tears whiskey, the seagulls are crying outside, and I suspect soon it will rain.  Perfect writing conditions.

But first I wanted to take an opportunity to reach out to all of you in this lull between seasons.  Folks at Triad Stage are busy at work preparing for the season ahead.  Designers are working on the first two shows and our production staff are building sets and making costumes for Arms and the Man.

I’m in Europe because I was asked to join a group of UNCG students in London to guide them around the city and take them to a number of plays.  The students and Denise Gabriel, UNCG faculty member and Triad Stage Resident Movement Director, had spent a terrifically challenging couple of weeks studying theater in Wales.  I was pleased to meet them at Paddington Station last Sunday and begin an immersive journey through varied types of theater in London.

Shaw home - ext Shaw bust

From a 55 seat fringe theatre above a pub to a center for new writing to a West End auditorium to the wonder that is the National, the students saw a wide variety of new work.  We also visited some of my favorite museums, buildings and parks in the city.

As usual, any trip to London for me is an opportunity to experience new plays, new directors and to seek inspiration.  I was also able this trip to fit in a walk to the home where George Bernard Shaw wrote Arms and the Man and I was delighted to realize I was watching Headlong’s visceral and challenging 1984 in the theater where Arms and the Man had its world premiere in 1894.

Shaw home  Shaw home 2

One of the great pleasures of my artistic life in the Triad is that I get to work so closely with UNCG.  I’m honored to help mentor the MFA directing students, get to work with so many of the other students and am thrilled to get to work so closely with the faculty of the theater department.  Many of the faculty work with me at Triad.  Jim Wren provides the excellent fight choreography.  Chris Morris is our voice and dialect expert.  And Denise Gabriel works wonder with movement.

Because I was rather frightened of my movement teachers when I was an acting student, I was at first surprised that Denise and I work so well together.  But from the first time I experienced her coaching an actor, I realized that she is a kind of miracle worker.  With a few words and a touch, Denise can get an actor to break through any walls or resistance.  I’ve been privileged to see her work with students and professionals and I know that her tenacity and talent are an enormous boon to UNCG and Triad Stage.

Denise is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever seen.  She cares passionately for her students.  She works beyond the call of duty to help them, to create exciting opportunities and to build bridges between the university and the profession.  Her dedication to the Wales theater program is just one example of her constant striving to spur creativity at UNCG and in Greensboro.  This fall, Denise has arranged for an acclaimed South African company to travel to Greensboro and perform Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms in the UpStage Cabaret.

After the student program ended, Denise and I decided to travel to Ireland to begin to make connections to establish new international partnerships for Triad Stage and UNCG.  We’ve seen rough and tumble new theater, contemporary Irish classics and still have a few shows to go.  We also did a 15 mile walk through the country side where we were attacked by bats and cows, but we survived the wild beasts of the Irish jungles because I remembered that St Patrick had rid the island of snakes and that gave us courage.  Why St. Patrick didn’t also kick out the bats and at least the most violent of the milk cows is something I will never understand.

Violent cow

I’m surprised it has taken me this long to make my way to Ireland.  I have no Irish ancestors, but I have always loved so many of the great Irish writers.  Ireland is also a place where theater and the identity of a nation are so entwined.  The Abbey Theatre played such an instrumental role in the formation of the nation.  The idea that a theater could become a vital part of a community, engage in the conversations essential to its audience and belong wholeheartedly to its place makes the Abbey one of the touchstone theaters that provide inspiration to me as Rich, the staff, and I continue to create Triad Stage with you.

It was a little disappointing to find that the outside of the Abbey looks a bit like a Belks in a late 1970’s shopping mall.  But the inside lived up to all that I had imagined.  Not only is it a beautiful theater but I saw a risky and stunning production of Tom Murphy’s The Wake.  Annabelle Comyn’s direction was gorgeous and Aisling O’Sullivan’s performance as Vera was daring and true.


The great thing I love about travel—whether to another world in a theater or down an undiscovered street in a new city—is that if one carries curiosity with them, wonders will be found.  I’ve not been able to stop thinking about O’Sullivan’s performance and the way it relates to risk.  The risk that an artist takes when they do the unexpected or try out a new way of expressing themselves or dares to create outside the established contemporary forms entails real danger.  And the reality is if one makes bold choices there will be many who criticize and mock.  But what’s the alternative?  To be safe?  To not try?

When I see a performance like O’Sullivan’s I’m reminded of the necessity to risk disapproval.  Art without bold choices accomplishes little.  I often tell students, professionals, and myself, that not making choices feels safe, but it doesn’t make great art.  I’m thrilled to return back to Triad Stage recommitted to our core value of “Artistic Risk.”  Without that “Artistic Risk” we could never hope to really engage with our community and belong to the Triad.

Preston Signature transparent

Preston Lane
Triad Stage Founding Artistic Director


InSight Speaker: Don Juan and the Philosophy of Comedy

JeffSeboJeff Sebo, Research Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill, will offer his InSights into the philosophy of comedy after this Sunday’s matinee performance of Don Juan, a world premiere comedy adapted by Founding Artistic Director Preston Lane.

Performance details: Sunday, June 12
2 p.m. @ The Pyrle Theater, 232 S. Elm Street
InSight Speaker event co-presented by Triad Stage
and The Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill

Jeff previously held positions in Bioethics at the NIH and in Animal Studies and Environmental Studies at NYU, where he received his PhD in Philosophy in 2011, and among his many research areas of interest are environmental ethics, the ethics of activism, and the ethic of comedy.

But don’t let his academic accolades fool you. He’s got comedy street cred, too. In college Jeff co-edited a satirical newspaper and performed improv comedy. In the summer of 2004, Jeff interned at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (may he rest on his farm with his children and his chickens in peace).

The Parr Center of Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill is an incredible regional resource, offering hundreds of events and talks for students, faculty and community members throughout the year.


In April, Jeff was a guest on The State of Things for a segment on the philosophy of comedy, which you can listen to here, as a preview of his Sunday conversation after the show.

If you don’t have your tickets for Sunday’s 2 p.m. matinee followed by a conversation with InSight Speaker Jeff Sebo, head on over to the Triad Stage website to reserve them today!

Building Community Through Story

Dear Friends,

As I sit down to write this to you, Technically Talking for Fences has just wrapped up in the theater downstairs. If you’ve never attended one of our Tuesday preview talk backs, I encourage you to stop by some time and meet the talented designers who create the world of the play.

The designers are not just sticking around till opening for a talk back. They’re all looking for ways to make things better. Previews are in many ways the most collaborative part of the process. The entire team is on deck, engaged and working together. This work together may be as simple as noticing a picture hanging crooked on a wall or as complicated as recognizing a costume or a sound cue needs to change. But the nature of the work is never just about their particular areas of expertise. By the time we are in previews, we’re all engaged in the common pursuit of telling the story the best that we can.

I’ve been thinking a lot about story recently. I’m embarking on a new writing project, and in between delving in to American history and current events for research, the characters and their actions and objectives are taking shape. It is an exciting time for me as a writer, because I have a plethora of possible stories and I get to indulge in each one of them. Many get discarded, others get put aside, and one ultimately becomes the story that becomes the play.

The stories that don’t get discarded are the stories that allows me to spend time with someone I would never otherwise know and in coming to know them, to learn something new about myself and my way in the world. I think good story doesn’t ask us to judge and frequently seeks to upset the apple cart of our conceptions of people, places and things. I also suspect that good storytelling gives us the freedom to discover and make up our own minds.

I believe that story builds community. Story transforms community. When we share the stories of those who may seem different than us, we enable ourselves to imagine the worth of all people. Story strengthens our community and our state by recognizing the intrinsic worth of each individual.

I’ve been asked a lot about how I feel about Bruce Springsteen cancelling his concert or the composer Stephen Schwartz refusing to permit his work to be performed in North Carolina. I think folks want me to either praise or condemn them. I don’t know that it’s my place to do either. I only know what I would do.

There’s a line I wrote years ago in a play called Brother Wolf that sums up my thoughts on how best to respond to moments of turmoil. The mother tells her frightened son: “Well. The way you got to do it is this. When you got a trouble, you tell a tale.”

I’m pretty much determined that for me the best course of action when things get bad is to keep following that motherly advice.

As a writer, I tell my own stories. I’m a product of the western part of this state and have lived in the Piedmont for a right long while now. So the people I know best are mountain folk and the grandchildren of mountain folk who came east looking for jobs. And yet I don’t just write about people I know. My imagination allows me to create the lives of others. And as a director I get to tell the stories of any number of people seemingly radically different than me — a 19th century Norwegian wife who wants to be her own person, a renaissance French orphan who falls in love with a nobleman, a mid-century African American actress who refuses to give up her truth, a dying patriarch in the Mississippi Delta. And as a producer I get to be a part of telling such wonderful stories as August Wilson crafts in Fences. On the surface, what do I have in common with a black garbage collector from the Hill District in Pittsburgh in the late 1950s? The glory of story is that — if we listen — we realize we have much to learn from every life we meet in story. And, if that’s true, is it so odd to imagine that we have much to learn from real people who seem initially to be so different?

I believe that making theater is a quest to honor the incredible and unique diversity of our community. Our stories, the people who tell our stories and the people who sit in the audience to experience our stories should reflect that diversity. I don’t always succeed but I am committed to continuing to make our stories represent our city, our state, our nation and our world.

I hope Triad Stage’s stories will continue to surprise you.

Preston Signature transparent


Preston Lane
Triad Stage Founding Artistic Director