Family drama, racial tension, a lot of sex fill Charleston's spring theater offerings

All the world's a stage

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Threshold Rep presents 'The Jacksonian' this April. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Threshold Rep presents 'The Jacksonian' this April.
Spring is in the air and new plays are hitting local theaters. While we think all local theater is good theater, we culled a few plays in particular to give you a closer look at what to expect around town. Whether you're looking for family drama, romance, an exploration of racial tensions, or an inspiring, classic tale, you can find it all this spring. Read on for our preview of shows starting next month and be sure to check out our preview of Threshold Rep's Uncle Vanya, and our review of Charleston Stage's Peter and the Starcatcher.

Our Mother's Brief Affair
March 10-April 1
PURE Theater
puretheatre.org

PURE Theater presents Our Mother’s Brief Affair, a play that “explores how little we know about the lives that impinge upon and shape our own.” The play, by Richard Greenberg, premiered just last year on Broadway. It follows the confession of a woman on her deathbed to her two children, twins Seth and Abby, revealing an affair that proves to hold significance beyond the family, describing her meeting of a handsome stranger on a bench in NYC years before. Perhaps in an attempt to make her uneventful life as a Long Island housewife more remarkable, she reveals her secret in suspenseful parts, building up the relationship she has with a man named Phil. Doubtful of the truth, the children try to discern fact from fiction, while the mother tries to fight for a legacy she can be proud of in her dying days.

Sex With Strangers
March 16-March 24
Village Repertory Co. at Woolfe Street Playhouse
woolfestreetyplayhouse.com

Playing for the first time in Charleston, Sex With Strangers revolves around two important questions: How far will you go to get what you want? and Will you be the same person if you do? Described by The New York Times as “A twisty and timely two character drama about lust, love, and the complex nature of identity in our digital-dominated era,” the play follows the story of 40-year-old novelist Olivia, and 28-year-old blogger Ethan’s encounter at a remote B&B, and the passionate romance that ensues. Romance, intellect, and secret agendas come together in this fresh take on modern love, exploring the blurred line between people’s public and private lives. Sex With Strangers represents the difficulty of reinventing oneself when your past is so readily available in the digital age.

PROVIDED
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The Miracle Worker
March 17-April 2
Charleston Stage
charlestonstage.com

Based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, Tony award winning-play The Miracle Worker is the powerful story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan who, (according to the show's description) "with love and perseverance unlocked the silence and darkness of a lost little girl and gave her the light and life that no one could have imagined." Helen Keller’s struggle with blindness and deafness as a result of a childhood illness is explored in the play, where nurse/teacher Annie Sullivan helps Helen to learn sign language, communication skills, and discipline. The play celebrates the significant impact her teacher had on both Helen and the subsequent deaf and blind community.

The Jacksonian
April 20-May 7
Threshold Repertory Theatre
charlestontheater.com

Set in Jackson, Miss. during 1964, this play follows a respectable dentist who moves into a seedy motel — The Jacksonian — after his wife kicks him out. The Jacksonian follows the dentist's life falling apart, negotiating the terms of his divorce with his estranged wife, and maintaining a relationship with his teenage daughter, along with run-ins with a treacherous bartender, and a gold-digging motel employee. Exploring racism in a small town, this darkly funny thriller is full of suspense, and is based around the night of a murder. How dark? The NYT calls the humor in the play "as black as widow's weeds." With a cast of five compelling characters, and a notion that you can’t trust everyone to tell the truth, the audience is left to wonder just exactly who gets murdered, in a not-so-classic form of whodunnit. Set in the deep south in the '60s —when segregation was in its death throes — the play includes both the time period's social barriers and the characters' strange personal lives.

No Sex Please, We're British
May 19-May 28
Flowertown Players
flowertownplayers.org

When a young bride, Frances, sends out a mail order for Scandinavian glassware and receives Scandinavian pornography in turn, a crazy tale ensues. No Sex Please, We're British, premiered on London's West End in 1971, and its plot has stood the test of time: Frances and her husband, Peter Hunter, try to figure out what to do with all the scandalous books, photographs, films, and women that flood their lives and threaten their relationship. Further threatened by complications with a mother-in-law, the Peter's boss, a bank inspector, a police superintendent, and a friend just trying to help, this comedy is described as “so saucy you’ll laugh your pants off."


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