CHAPEL HILL – A couple’s breakup culminates, actually and symbolically, with the husband’s refusal to participate in the Million Man March – and his reluctance to embrace his identity.

 

Left by his wife, the black university professor is visited that night by the spirits of his male ancestors, whose stories illuminate and guide his way.

 

The plot is that of the play “Blue Door,” to be staged by PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theater group in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Oct. 22 through Nov. 9.

 

The drama explores what it costs to disconnect from one’s past and cultural heritage.

 

PlayMakers production will be the regional premiere of Tanya Barfield’s play, with original songs, and be directed by Tony Award-winner Trezana Beverley.

 

Beverley won a 1976 Tony Award for her performance in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” on Broadway. Artistic director of her own company, OdD Socks Productions in New York, N.Y., Beverley is in her seventh season as a guest artist with PlayMakers, where she previously directed PlayMakers’ productions of “Yellowman” (2005) and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” (2007).

 

The Oakland (Calif.) Tribune raved that “Blue Door” “surges with passion, courage and lyrical beauty.” The New York Times said, “Barfield’s thoughtful ‘Blue Door’ deals with themes central to the work of August Wilson, but the dramatic format … is strikingly different.”

 

PlayMakers’ show times will be 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1; and 2 p.m. Sundays in the Paul Green Theatre, inside the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. For a complete schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-PLAY or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Tickets are $10 to $40.

 

On Oct. 22, PlayMakers will be among theaters in 100 cities across the United States to participate in a “Free Night of Theater.” The national campaign, led by Theatre Communications Group, aims to introduce new audiences to live theater. Locally, theatergoers who have never attended a PlayMakers production may reserve complimentary tickets to “Blue Door” by visiting FreeNightofTheater.net.

 

Other special events will include:

* opening night festivities on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. (following preview performances Oct. 22-24);

* a free “Sneak Peek Director’s Talk” on the set with director Trezana Beverly at noon Oct. 15 in the Paul Green Theatre;

* free post-show discussions on Oct. 29 and Nov. 2; and

* an all-access performance for attendees with special needs (sign language interpretation, audio description) on Nov 4.

 

The production team for “Blue Door” includes PlayMakers resident company member Jade Bettin (costumes), along with Marion Williams (sets) and Peter West (lighting.)

 

Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theater company. The Drama League named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theater companies in America.”

 

Coverage note: Media are welcome to cover the preview and talk by play director Trezana Beverley at noon Oct.15. Photography, videography, lights and flashes are not restricted. For assistance, call (919) 428-1744.

 

Photo: http://uncnews.unc.edu/images/stories/news/arts/2008/prcbdfinalart.jpg

 

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, cmahan@email.unc.edu

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu