APTs Annapurna: A very mysterious, funny, serious play

It is a breathtaking story, both funny and dramatic, about the longevity of love.

by Rob Howard,
Associate Editor

Arkansas Public Theatre’s (APT) production mission is to bring, “Fresh from Broadway, cutting-edge productions that are not being produced elsewhere,” says Ed McClure, the Artistic Director of the Rogers Ark. based theatre company. Their production of Sharr White’s "Annapurna" does just that.

“We did [White’s] "The Other Place" two seasons ago. We really like Sharr White’s writing, and our audience really seemed to enjoy it.”

The plot seems simple. After twenty years apart, Emma tracks down her ex-husband Ulysses to a trailer in the middle of nowhere for a final reckoning. The visit is, “For reasons we don’t understand as the play opens, but which become clear as the play goes on,” said McClure. “You keep discovering different things as you go through the show.”

What unfolds is a visceral and profound meditation on love and loss with the simplest of theatrical elements: two people in one room. 

“We learn their history, why their lives took a turn for the worse, and that maybe they were at their best when they were together than they have ever been since.”

It is a breathtaking story, both funny and dramatic, about the longevity of love.

APT often produces musicals; "Annapurna" is a drama. “It’s nice to transition into a different production from "Rock of Ages" (APT’s musical production in September). We try to give a variety of options for people of all ages to participate in our production.”

Local actor John Jefferson plays Ulysses; Sue Jordan is Emma. Megan Mullally and her real-life husband Nick Offerman played the roles in New York.

Heaping praise on playwright Sharr White, McClure says, “Sharr White is one of the most gifted contemporary playwrights on the scene right now.” 

White was lauded by "The New York Press", which said he has, “A skillful hand…with an uncanny ability to know exactly how much to give away, and when.” 

“We would encourage folks who are willing to try new things to come out for a non-musical. We have some great non-musical scripts in our season this year. We would like to see a lot of folks out for this show,” says McClure. “I think folks will like this. It is a very mysterious, funny, serious script. I think people will really enjoy it.”

Performances of "Annapurna"​​​​​​​ are November 4-6, and 10-13 at Rogers’ historic Victory Theater. Tickets are $25 for a Cabaret seat, $40 for a Cabaret table (2 seats), and $18 in the balcony, and are available by phone at (479) 631-8988, or online at www.arkansaspublictheatre.org. Group and student rates available.

Copyright The Gayly - 10/30/2016 @ 7:52 a.m. CDT.