Theater notes: Horizon’s belated return
January 18th, 2022
ARTSATL STAFF·JANUARY 14, 2022
Having not staged a full-scale production in nearly two years due to Covid-19, Horizon Theatre has announced that it will launch its 38th season later this month with Every Brilliant Thing, a play about depression and resilience told in collaboration with the audience. It will be presented with a reduced-capacity, in-the-round seating configuration at the Little Five Points theater with previews beginning January 28. The run is through February 27.
Resilience is also a capacity that Horizon is exhibiting by returning to present live theater even as some companies are postponing openings due to the virus surge caused by the Omicron variant.
In September, when most other Atlanta troupes were scrambling to launch their fall seasons, Horizon co-artistic director Lisa Adler told ArtsATL, “We debated starting in the fall, but ultimately over the summer, we decided, let’s use this time to get organized so that we can come out of the pandemic in a better place than we left.” .
The pandemic is still very much with us, but, with multiple safety precautions in place, Adler says she’s comfortable with the decision to return now.
“We planned for a small show in this timeframe to open the season to make sure we could be as safe as possible as we re-open — for actors, staff and audience,” she says.
Horizon has cast three actors to alternate in Every Brilliant Thing’s single role (and serve as backups for each other) — O’Neil Delapenha, Megan Hayes and Shelby Hofer. Two stage managers (both of whom already have had Covid) also will rotate in that job. Masks will be required in the theater (except for the one performer), and audience members must provide proof of vaccination. All actors and staff are boosted, Adler says, and testing is frequent. In addition to reducing capacity, Horizon will assign seating to allow for greater distancing
“Theater is a live experience, and we are excited to be back for audiences who are longing to reconnect with live theater, especially with this funny and touching play that is all about connection, hope and resilience in the face of dark times,” Adler said. “I think we all can relate to that right now.”
Every Brilliant Thing indeed promises to be a spirit-lifter. In Duncan Macmillan’s script, a seven-year-old boy responds to his mother’s attempted suicide by starting a list of things to live for: No. 1 being ice cream; No. 2, water fights; and No. 3, staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. The list grows over the decades in the play, expanding to a million entries, and will grow even more with feedback from the Horizon audience, elicited by the three actors.
“This is not like any show I have ever seen before,” director Jeff Adler, Horizon’s co-artistic director has said. “It’s intimate and personal with the actor interacting directly with the audience before and during the play. Every night will be a different experience, with each actor and audience bringing their own stamp to the play.”
Following Every Brilliant Thing on Horizon’s schedule will be The Light, March 18-April 17; Roe, May 6-June 12; Square Blues, July 8-August 14; and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, September 30-November 6.