DECATUR, Ga.—Live theatre returns to Perimeter College at Georgia State University this fall—with a twist.
The Theatre Arts Guild will present its production of “The Garden Cycle” outdoors Friday-Sunday, Oct. 22-24 at the Native Plant Botanical Garden located on Perimeter’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road.
The alfresco performance is billed as an immersive experience of theatre and song and will feature excerpts from four plays that prompt guests to meander through the garden as the scenes change.
Sally Robertson, Perimeter’s Fine Arts Department chair, says the ongoing pandemic and safety considerations meant re-thinking how to do theater.
“Nobody really wanted to do another Zoom show,” Roberston said, adding that decisions about this fall’s production started in February.
“The idea for the garden came out of us not knowing exactly where we’d be with COVID and indoor venue protocols, so we thought, let’s just try something different,” she said.
Robertson said considerable thought also went into the performance’s theme which focuses on grief, growth, change and joy through life experiences.
“We said, let’s do it outdoors and let’s really focus on creatives from the communities of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in theatre,” Robertson said.
“We are acutely aware of social justice initiatives that had been brought up in the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBTQ movement—all of these things were really coming to a head last summer and theater had to sit up and take notice.”
“The Garden Cycle” will address social and personal issues during a one-hour performance that highlights scenes from “El Loro, El Gato y El Espiritu Santo” by Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos, “Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery” by Shea Youngblood, “Harina Pan” by Sofia Palmero and “Me No Choose None: Stories of Anansi” by Aaron Gotlieb, theatre staff member at Perimeter.
Linsday Bytof is lecturer of theatre at Perimeter and “The Garden Cycle” production manager.
“We’ve all felt very distant and disconnected,” Bytof says. “We talked about the idea that people have been cozily at home on their couch, watching Netflix for the last year.
“I feel like for all of us to be walking around the gardens together will be a really cool feeling, and make us feel even closer, somehow, than if we were in a theatre—and yet still be distanced and safe,” she said.
While the play is free, donations at the gate are encouraged and reservations must be made in advance at tag.tix.com. Tickets are extremely limited, and the audience should be prepared to walk around the garden to see each short play. Performances are Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-23 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. at the Native Plant Botanical Garden. A plant sale will take place one hour before each performance, with guests invited to "Bring Your Own Picnic."