Gear­ing up for two great plays

GA Voice - - Black Gay Pride - By JIM FARMER

Fall theater in the ATL brings with it op­tions ga­lore. Two plums are Al­liance Theatre’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” adapted into a play by Dale Wasser­man from Ken Ke­sey’s book, which was later turned into an Os­car-win­ning film, and Do­min­ion En­ter­tain­ment Group’s “Jar the Floor,” Ch­eryl West’s com­edy about an African-Amer­i­can fam­ily and a birth­day party marked by some sur­prises, one of which is the great-grand­daugh­ter of the main char­ac­ter’s new fe­male lover. We caught up with ac­tresses D. Woods (most re­cently seen in the film “Black­bird”) and Cara Man­tella, who play “Jar’s” les­bian cou­ple Vennie and Raisa, as well as Tess Malis Kin­caid, who stars as Nurse Ratched in “Cuckoo’s Nest.” Ratched over­sees the pysch ward, in­clud­ing new pa­tient Ran­dle McMur­phy.

GA Voice: Tell us about your char­ac­ter, Cara.


Raisa is kind of the out­sider of the Al­liance Theatre 1280 Peachtree St. NE, At­lanta, GA 30309 Sept. 2 - 20­liancethe­ group. She comes in as a friend of Vennie to her birth­day party. The fam­ily re­acts be­cause she is white and also be­cause she has had one breast re­moved. She had breast can­cer and it is no­tice­able right away when she comes in.

D., what is it like work­ing with a cast that in­cludes the great Bernar­dine Mitchell, who

plays the fam­ily ma­tri­arch?

D. Woods: I had to ask her, “This was a long time ago, but didn’t you do a pro­duc­tion of “for col­ored girls who have con­sid­ered sui­cide / when the rain­bow is enuf” at the Al­liance a while back? She did. I was in the ninth grade and went to see that show. I re­mem­ber her play­ing Lady in Red and her mono­logue ter­ri­fied me. I told her re­cently how much she scared me. To be work­ing with her now is go­ing to be in­tense.

Tess, can you talk to us about be­ing part

I can say this. I felt lucky to get the call. When (di­rec­tor) Su­san (Booth) reached out I was thrilled.

How does the play com­pare to the film ver­sion?

The au­di­ence is in the space with those peo­ple. There is no es­cape from it – they are all in the ward. In the film you get the re­lease from the in­mates go­ing on a fish­ing trip but the play, I think, has im­me­di­acy. It’s more vis­ceral.

of the ensem­ble of “Cuckoo’s Nest?”

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