Calendar of Events

Monday, October 14, 2019

Flying Anvil Theatre: Hand to God

  • October 11, 2019 — October 27, 2019

Category: Theatre

HAND TO GOD by Robert Askins

After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry, in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason’s complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and—most especially—his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason’s puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. HAND TO GOD explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us. Adult language.

“The fearsome critter [Tyrone], who takes possession of a troubled teenager’s left arm in Robert Askins’ darkly delightful play really inspires goose bumps as he unleashes a reign of terror…But he’s also flat-out hilarious, spewing forth acid comedy that will turn those goose bumps into guffaws.” —The New York Times. “Furiously funny…Askins’ most impressive talent is his ability to make us laugh while juggling those big themes that make life so terrifying: death, depression, alcoholism, sexual guilt, emotional repression, religious hypocrisy and the eternal battle between your good puppet and your bad puppet.” —Variety. “HAND TO GOD is so ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it’s bound to leave you sore from laughing. Ah, hurts so good.” —New York Daily News.

Flying Anvil Theatre, 1300 Rocky Hill Road, Knoxville. Information: 865-357-1309, www.flyinganviltheatre.com

Clarence Brown Theatre: People Where They Are

Category: History & heritage and Theatre

The world premiere of the CBT-commissioned “People Where They Are” will be performed in the Clarence Brown Theatre’s Carousel Theatre October 2 – 20, 2019. Written specifically for the current UT Theatre MFA actors by Anthony Clarvoe and directed by Calvin MacLean, the play dramatizes the famous Highlander Center’s expansion into the Civil Rights movement, and more. Several ancillary events will accompany this production.

In 1932, Myles Horton, Don West, Jim Dombrowski and others founded the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. They focused first on organizing unemployed and working people, and by the late 1930s Highlander was serving as the de-facto CIO education center for the region, training union organizers and leaders in 11 southern states. During this period, Highlander also fought segregation in the labor movement, holding its first integrated workshop in 1944. Highlander’s commitment to ending segregation made it a critically important incubator of the Civil Rights movement. Workshops and training sessions at Highlander helped lay the groundwork for many of the movement’s most important initiatives, including the Montgomery bus boycott, the Citizenship Schools, and the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1961, after years of red-baiting and several government investigations, the state of Tennessee revoked Highlander’s charter and seized its land and buildings. The school reopened the next day as the Highlander Research and Education Center. From 1961-1971, it was based in Knoxville, and in 1972 it moved to its current location near New Market, Tennessee.

According to Clarvoe, all the actions depicted in the play actually happened and all the characters are based on actual people. But the timeline of events has been rearranged and telescoped and the named characters are amalgams of several different historical figures.

Clarence Brown Theatre, 1714 Andy Holt Ave on the UT campus, Knoxville, TN 37996. For information: 865-974-5161, www.clarencebrowntheatre.com. For tickets: 865-974-5161, 865-656-4444, www.knoxvilletickets.com