For many locals, a night at the theater in Atlanta means seeing whatever Broadway touring production is at the Fox this month. While that's generally a fun night out, and it's a great way to introduce children and husbands to the world of theater, the Atlanta scene, like the city itself, is much more diverse than it first appears. Discount web sites like www.goldstar.com are a great way to find out what is going on outside of the bigger venues.
As an example, Atlanta actor and playwright Topher Payne is quickly becoming one of the city's most fascinating theatrical stars. Between starring in shows like "Bat-Hamlet" to writing productions like "Swell Party," Payne's range is impressive and he appears equally comfortable with comedy and drama. His current production, "Angry Fags," runs at 7 Stages through March 17, and it is a must-see for anyone interested in new theater in Atlanta.
The play, which feels much shorter than its 2.5 hour length, centers around the frustrations of roommates Bennett and Cooper, who decide to take matters into their own hands when a mutual friend is the victim of a violent hate crime. Frustrated with the message that one should wait for things to "get better" on their own, the pair decide to take action, and things quickly spiral out of control. All this is set against the backdrop of a political campaign between Bennett's boss, a lesbian activist, and her challenger, a Sarah Palin-esque Republican with an adopted deaf baby.
And the thing is, at least for the first half, the play is legitimately funny. One of the best lines even goes to the Palin character, who says that she thinks prayers from heathens are most effective because God is so surprised to hear from them. The show addresses serious subject matter in an empathetic and sensitive manner, with a generous helping of relatable humor. You'll leave the audience with some new laughs and a lot to think about later. The theater itself even has a fantastic little adjoining cafe with local artwork popping out at you from every inch of wallspace.
And hey, it's less expensive than any production of Jersey Boys.