Several years ago, we were amazed at the reaction from audience members attending our production of Doubt, a play by John Patrick Shanley. Geva produced the play in 2007, and the film hit the silver screen the following year. After each performance, Geva staff gave the audience an opportunity to discuss the issues of the play, and found that it was next to impossible to end the conversation each night – there was a hunger to talk about the experience of seeing the play, and about the issues and feelings it raised.
Director of education Skip Greer and then literary manager Marge Betley recognized a need. “It was clear to us that our audience was hungry to talk about current ethical and political topics—and move beyond the spin of entrenched positions—and that theatre was the perfect venue for such conversation,” Betley said, in an interview in American Theatre magazine.
As an answer to this need, Geva created The Hornets’ Nest – a series of play readings which are a springboard for conversation. Three times a year, we invite you to join us in the Nextstage, listen to a play, consider the questions it raises, and share your responses with other members of the community. We’ll invite a few people with experience that is central to the play’s topics to serve as “instigators,” who can help to provoke conversation, but the conversation is really among audience members. We want to hear your thoughts on the issues.
On December 10, we’ll present the first Hornets’ Nest of the season – a reading of Next Fall, by Geoffrey Nauffts. The reading is directed by Melissa Rain Anderson, and will feature Broadway actress Nancy Opel, who has originated roles in the Broadway productions of Evita, Teddy & Alice, Sunday in the Park with George, Triumph of Love, Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof, and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in Urinetown.
The cast will also feature several favorite Geva performers: Michael Fitzpatrick (A Christmas Carol and Amadeus), Jim Poulos (A Christmas Carol, You Can’t Take It With You, Company, Amadeus, Urinetown), John Hertzler (Inherit the Wind), Marcy Savastano (Method Machine’s Angels in America Parts 1 and 2) and Ned Noyes (A Christmas Carol and Amadeus).
Next Fall takes a witty and provocative look at faith, commitment and unconditional love, through the five year relationship between Adam and Luke. How does a deeply religious gay man reconcile these two aspects of his identity? Today, when gay rights are a part of the nation’s political discourse, what are the conversations we can have as community members? We’ll be joined by three great instigators – Jo Meleca-Voigt from Marriage Equality New York, Scott Fearing from the Gay Alliance, and Rod Frohman from Third Presbyterian Church.
Join us! Tickets are free, but the theatre fills up quickly, so reservations are highly recommended.