NVA will present THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, Horton Foote's beautiful American classic about finding your way home, in honor of founding Ensemble member Sandra Ellis-Troy (1942-2010.) NVA is thrilled to have Ellis-Troy's close friend Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson anchoring the cast in the pivotal role of Carrie Watts.
When NVA's production opens in February, it will be just the third production to cast African-American actors as the Watts family - a decision that has been blessed by Foote's daughter Hallie in previous productions. BOUNTIFUL is directed by Executive Artistic Director Kristianne Kurner, and features Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson as Carrie Watts, Walter Murray as her son Ludie, and Yolanda Franklin as Ludie's wife Jessie Mae. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL begins previews February 1, and runs through March 3, 2013. Opening night is February 9. Tickets can be purchased at www.NewVillageArts.org or by calling 760-433-3245.
All Carrie Watts wants is to see her hometown of Bountiful, Texas before she dies. Her son would rather bury the past and her daughter-in-law can't understand why she wants to leave the city. A fragile old woman to those around her, Mrs. Watts yearns to plunge her hands into the dirt, to hear the birds sing, to breathe the country air, and nothing will stop her from returning to her home.
"This is a free country. No sheriff or king or president will keep me from going back to Bountiful" -Carrie Watts, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL was originally written by Horton Foote as a teleplay in 1953. It starred Lillian Gish and Eva Marie Saint, who reprised their roles when the play went to Broadway later that year. Another prolific American actress, Geraldine Page, took on the role of Carrie Watts in 1985 in an Oscar-nominated film version written by Foote, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. A critically-acclaimed revival at New York's Signature Theatre Company in 2006 featured Lois Smith as Carrie, and HAllie Foote (Horton's daughter) as Jessie Mae.
A Note From Director Kristianne Kurner:
"THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL has long been one of my favorite experiences - both as a film and a play. I remember watching the film in high school and being completely transported by Geraldine Page's performance. I was then fortunate enough to see Lois Smith perform the role on Broadway, and it was again an experience I will never forget. Originally, I had planned to direct the show with the great Sandra Ellis-Troy portraying Carrie Watts, but when Sandy passed away, I put the play aside. It wasn't until seeing Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson in A RAISIN IN THE SUN at Moxie Theatre that I realized I found another great actor to bring this role to life, and asked her to become involved. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is a beautiful play about what you choose to do when your life doesn't turn out the way you expect. And that intense desire to find your way home. I can't wait to share it in our intimate space in Carlsbad Village."
A Note From Actor Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson:
"I am immersed in a deep abiding love affair with Horton Foote's magical ability to timelessly speak to each of our hearts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. There is simply too much to say about how much Carrie Watts reverence of the past and her spiritual faith resonate within me. I know there are things I know about her and things she knows about me. It is the nuances. It is as much what is not said that takes on this incredible journey of relentlessness, passion and courage. Carrie Watts paints a portrait with her every breath, her every movement, her every choice. I am riveted by her layers, by her sheer un-offensive guts. Memories, and for some an unquenchable thirst to hold on to them - keep the flame of them lit - for sometimes it is only the memories that affirm that our existence ever mattered. My heart beats faster every time I think about [beginning rehearsals.]"