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HPPR Arts, Culture & History

Defying Gravity: New Play at Amarillo Little Theatre Blends Impressionism & Space Exploration

DefyingGrav-Nov2021.jpg

Jason Crespin, Managing/Artistic Director of Amarillo Little Theatre, stopped by High Plains Morning to discuss this experimental performance that opens 11/11.

Today, we had a familiar face in the studio on High Plains Morning. Jason Crespin, Managing/Artistic Director of Amarillo Little Theatre stopped by to unpack an experimental theatre piece that’s opening this week. The show Defying Gravity will be performed at the ALT Adventure Space (2751 Civic Circle, Amarillo), starting on Thursday, November 11th and running through Sunday, November 21st.

According to Jason, “The show is about the Challenger disaster and the people that were affected, in conjunction with a side-story featuring the French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet. Pretty weird show, but it’s spectacular and we cannot wait for people to see it.”

Tickets and information are available at www.amarillolittletheatre.org, or you can call the box office at 806.355.9991. For the full interview, click the blue button at the top of this page.

SHOWTIMES:

THURSDAYS: November 11* & 18 @ 7:30pm

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS: November 12, 13, 19 and 20* @ 8:00pm

SUNDAY: November 14* and 21 @ 2:30pm

* These 3 performances will require audiences to wear a mask while at ALT.

TICKETS: Reserve by phone: (806) 355-9991 or online here.

MORE ABOUT THE SHOW: In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff. It was the first spaceflight disaster for NASA, all the more tragic because it was the first time a civilian, teacher Christa McAuliffe, was chosen to travel into space. Jane Anderson’s Defying Gravity combines the lives of the past and present into a philosophical journey around the Challenger disaster. Five-year-old Elizabeth doesn’t understand how or why her mother, a social studies teacher (based on McAuliffe), became part of the crew. The teacher engages her class in discussions of humankind’s attempts to reach God through art and architecture. Retired couple Betty and Ed travel across the country to see interesting things, including a shuttle launch. Donna tends the bar where NASA employees often hang out, including C.B., an engineer and her casual love interest. And overlooking all of these lives is Claude Monet, the French Impressionist painter seeking to discover God’s view of the world. Embedded in realism while also enjoying nonconventional drama, Defying Gravity recreates the circumstances of the people involved in the Challenger’s story and the dreams they had, before the shuttle (to quote Ronald Reagan) “slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

ALT has assembled a phenomenal cast which includes Brandon Graves, Jay Hayes, Marley Hoggatt, Jennifer McClellan, Jeffrey Pickens, Don Shipman and Kim Shreffler. This thought provoking play is directed by Kara Leimer and assisted by Laura Jo Worsham. Jane Anderson’s free-flowing, stylized play takes the audience on a journey through history to explore people’s dreams and goals in life. Be it with a paintbrush or a spaceship, humans throughout history have been attempting to defy the limits of gravity and reach for the stars. ALT Adventure Space audiences will love Defying Gravity.