Tony-Award-Winning Playwright Itamar Moses Joins Horizon Theatre for Virtual Production of Completeness

September 23rd, 2020

September 17, 2020 (Atlanta, GA)

What happens when brain and heart collide? Two grad students might have the answer, if they can look up from their research long enough to find out. At 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3, Horizon Theatre will premiere a Horizon at Home virtual production of Completeness by Tony-Award-Winning playwright Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit), who will join the theatre live via Zoom for a special performance intro and talkback. This romantic comedy takes a modern look at love through a scientific lens.

Post-show discussions immediately following each showing of the play will allow audience members to engage directly with the artists, as well as special guests. Moses, along with the cast and director, will take questions from the audience on Saturday, Sept. 26. Following the Sept. 25 and Oct. 2-3 showings, Horizon is partnering with Science ATL to give audiences access to scientists studying the types of computer science and molecular biology described in the play.

In Completeness, Elliot, a computer scientist, and Molly, a molecular biologist, are struggling with the realities of romance. When love is the answer, how do these two intellectuals manage to figure out the equation in the first place? When Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. You’ll see both their romantic triumphs and regressions mirrored in the science they create.

The filmed reading of Completeness is the second collaboration between Horizon and Moses. Horizon previously produced Moses’ musical Nobody Loves You in 2017.

“We’re delighted to be working with Itamar [Moses] again, and thrilled that audiences will be able to meet him,” says Producing Artistic Director Lisa Adler. “His writing is smart, funny, and about people searching for deep connections. This is a wonderful show for our four talented actors. We’re proud of all of Itamar’s accomplishments, and happy to present this play that’s close to his heart.”

Moses links the idea for Completeness back to a college engineering course, where he learned about the “Traveling Salesman Problem.”

“I remember liking how simple the problem was and that it had this evocative, non-science sounding name,” says Moses. “The Traveling Salesman Problem…is essentially a problem of choice-making when there are too many possibilities, and it suddenly occurred to me that it was a good metaphor for choosing a life partner. I immediately saw the seeds of a romantic comedy about someone working on the problem who also sees it manifest in his personal life, and my protagonist, Elliot, was born.”

At its heart, Completeness is a play about the impossibility of certainty…in life, love, and cellular reproduction. At turns hilarious and seductive, Completeness will inspire both laughter and empathy.

Though performing virtually has its challenges, the medium also has its advantages. The natural setting of the actors’ homes, along with minor editing and music design, lends the piece a cinematic feel. The intimate nature of the camera gives audiences closer access to the actors’ craft than they would have in a live setting.

The medium also enables Horizon to coordinate a live introduction and live post-show discussions for each night of the run with participants from all over the country. Moses will login from Brooklyn, NY, where he is based as a playwright. Director Heidi McKerley and the cast—comprised of Atlanta favorites Chris Hecke, Naima Carter Russell, Shelli Delgado, and Eric J. Little—will join from their homes across Metro Atlanta.

“Staying at home is changing the way we see the arts world, especially theatre,” says video and sound designer Amy Levin. “We want to make sure everyone still has access to plays, so it’s become a matter of translating something written specifically for one medium and adapting it to another.”

Atlanta-area scientists will also weigh in on the real implications of the science posed in the play thanks to a partnership with Science ATL.

“I’ve invited scientists with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences within the fields of computer science and molecular biology,” shares Kellie Vinal, Ph.D., Public Events Coordinator for Science ATL. “I think the unique combinations of expertise and experiences will make for lively discussion.”

Completeness is part of the Horizon at Home series, which began after theatres across the country went dark to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Previous Horizon at Home events have included Cooking Ala Lala (a weekly cooking show with Horizon actress Lala Cochran), Tom Talks (a talk show hosted by long-time Horizon playwright/director Thomas W. Jones II), Sing with Keena (a singing workshop for audience member amateurs with music director Keena Redding), and Nope, That’s Just My First Name (a weekly series of intimate stories from actor/playwright Suehyla El-Attar).

“While we are all anxious to get back to live performance, there have been some wonderful benefits of living in the Zoom world,” Adler says. “Restrictions always birth creativity, and so for theatres, we are exploring all the possibilities for taking our theatre story-telling tools into other mediums and locations.”

Completeness will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3. Tickets are free, but donations are encouraged (suggested donation of $10 per person or more), and registration is required. Audiences can register to attend at horizontheatre.com/horizon-at-home-completeness.

STORY

In Completeness, Elliot, a computer scientist, and Molly, a molecular biologist, are struggling with the realities of romance. When love is the answer, how do these two intellectuals manage to figure out the equation in the first place? When Elliot builds a computer program to help Molly with her research project, the variables in their evolving relationship shift as rapidly as the terms of their experiment. You’ll see both their romantic triumphs and regressions mirrored in the science they create.

PLAYWRIGHT

An acclaimed writer for both the big stage and the small screen, ITAMAR MOSES is the 2018 Tony-Award-winner for the Best Book of a Musical for the hit Broadway production of The Band’s Visit–for which he and David Yazbek (music and lyrics) also took home top honors in Musical Theatre from the Obie Awards (for its Off-Broadway debut at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2016-17). Born in Berkeley, CA, and a resident of Brooklyn, NY, Moses holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU, has taught playwriting at both his alma mater and at Yale University, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. His other plays (which include The Four of UsBach at Leipzig, and Completeness) and musicals (Nobody Loves You with Gaby Alter and Fortress of Solitude with Michael Friedman) have appeared Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally. Horizon Theatre produced the hilarious Nobody Loves You, set in on a dating reality show, in 2017. His writing for the popular TV series Men of a Certain Age (TNT), Boardwalk Empire (HBO), and Outsiders (WGN) is well known to viewers throughout the country. 

DIRECTOR

HEIDI McKERLEY is a Horizon Artistic Associate who has been directing for Horizon for over two decades, including most of Horizon’s musicals, most recently the acclaimed Once. She has been fortunate to work with most professional theatres in Atlanta during her thirty-two years of living here; including, the Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse, Georgia Shakespeare, Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, Aurora Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Actor’s Express, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Theatre Emory, Dad’s Garage, Fabrefaction, Jewish Theatre of the South, Theatre in the Square, Push Push Theatre, and has been a guest artist for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, Berry College, Kennesaw State University, the Lagrange Lyric, and the University of Georgia. She has also taught for the acting intern companies of Actor’s Express and the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Heidi has been nominated for thirteen Suzi Bass Awards, and won Best Director of a Musical in 2011 for Avenue Q. She enjoys writing and wrote the book for one of the three first official entries to be showcased in the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival, The Fine Art of Forgetting. Heidi was the Founding Producing Artistic Director of Soul-stice Repertory Ensemble, offering thirty-one theatrical classics at 7 Stages in eleven years. Regionally, Heidi has worked for the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and the Oasis Theatre and Hippodrome State Theatre in Florida. She is a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers, the National Storytelling Network, the Alliance for Theatre in Education, Georgia Thespians, the Georgia Theatre Conference, and the Educational Theatre Association of America. 

CAST

CHRIS HECKE (Elliot) is a regional actor and a proud Immigrant from Brazil. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas. Since moving to the US at the age of 18, Chris has been blessed to work from Atlanta, to Fayetteville, to Greenville, to Gainesville. Since making Atlanta his professional, home-base in 2016, his favorite credits include: Hotspur (Henry IV Pt.1), Edmund the Bastard (King Lear), and Berowne (Love’s Labours Lost) at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern; stints in Shakespeare in Love and My Father’s War at Theatre Squared; and Pablo (Native Gardens) at Aurora Theatre. He has also been an actor in Horizon Theatre’s New South Young Playwright’s Festival from 2018-2020.

NAIMA CARTER RUSSELL (Molly) is an Atlanta resident, FSU Alumnus, and a Suzi Bass Award winner for her role as Felicia Farrell in Memphis (Aurora Theater /Theatrical Outfit). Other regional credits include: The Nacirema Society…and Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre); Big Fish and Godspell (Theatrical Outfit); Tranced and Lark Eden (Aurora Theatre); Antigone (Georgia Shakespeare), Caroline, or Change (St. Louis Black Rep), and Rejoice (True Colors Theatre Company). Film/TV credits include: “House of Payne”, “Let’s Stay Together”, and “Banshee”. She is a passionate diverse book reviewer and shares the drama of mothering two girls. Her handle is @itsthedramamama on Instagram.

SHELLI DELGADO (Lauren/Nell) recently played Siobhan in Horizon’s & Aurora Theatre’s joint production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Regional Credits: A Christmas Carol, Max Makes a Million, Tiger Style!, Little Raindrop Songs and Dinosaur! (Alliance Theatre); A Doll’s House Part 2, The Crucible*, RENT (Actor’s Express, *Suzi Bass Award for Featured Actress), Hamlet (Atlanta Shakespeare Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Warehouse Theatre), Into the Woods, Don’t Dress for Dinner, 4000 Miles, Les Misérables (Aurora Theatre), Sense & Sensibility (Synchronicity Theatre), Grease, Miss Saigon (Serenbe). TV: “The Vampire Diaries”. IG: @shellidelgado Black Lives Matter.

ERIC J. LITTLE (Don, Franklin) is an actor, teacher, director, and writer. Having received his MFA in acting from Louisiana State University, he has acted on professional stages across Atlanta, as well as in New York and Louisiana. His Film/TV work includes “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Necessary Roughness,” “The Clubhouse – (Pilot)”, “The Know Better Effect – (Pilot),” “Hamlet’s Ghost,” “Lottery Ticket,” the lead in two short films “Perfect Day” and “A Beautiful Death,” and also various commercials. Eric’s been nominated for Five Suzi Awards, and the winner of the 2011 Suzi Award Winner Lead Actor for Superior Donuts (Horizon Theatre Company). Eric is currently an Adjunct Professor at Clark Atlanta University where he teaches acting and where he has directed productions of “for black boys who have considered homicide when the streets were too much,” “Before It Hits Home,” and “The Brothers Size.”

ABOUT HORIZON THEATRE COMPANY

Horizon Theatre Company connects people, inspires hope, and promotes positive change through the stories of our times. We produce professional area and world premieres of smart, funny, and provocative contemporary plays. We also develop the next generation of diverse artists and audiences. We are currently producing online theatre and special events through our new “Horizon at Home” program which can be found at horizontheatre.com/horizon-at-home.

For more information, call 404.584.7450, email boxoffice@horizontheatre.com, or visit horizontheatre.com.

Major funding is provided by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, and The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts. We are grateful for our play and program corporate sponsors: the Warner Media and Macy’s.

ABOUT SCIENCE ATL

Science ATL brings people together through the wonder of science. Our mission is to cultivate an equitable community of lifelong learners across metro Atlanta who are connected and inspired by the wonder of science. We achieve this by fostering a love of science, building community around science, and enabling equitable access to science learning opportunities.