The Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project opens its 2014-15 season with the ‘East-of-the-Rockies’ premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s play By the Waters of Babylon. The production opens at Nashville’s Looby Theatre on October 9.
In this two-person play, what appears to be a simple ‘day-labor transaction’ grows into a cautiously closer encounter between two complex and deeply broken individuals. Catherine, a widow, is the object of neighborhood gossip, shunned by the people around her. Arturo is a Cuban exile, a writer turned gardener hired to tame Catherine’s chaotic back yard. Haunted by ghosts of their previous lives, the two learn together to navigate the shoals of their personal tragedies, and to face their deepest fears and desires.
“Babylon may seem a bit darker than most of the work I choose to direct, but it has all the elements I love in a play: humanity, humor, hope—and a magical quality,” said Maryanna Clarke, TWTP founder and artistic director. “I am excited, and amazed that ours is only the fifth company to produce it, and the first one east of the Rockies. It was commissioned by and premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and went on to the Geffen Playhouse and Seattle Rep. We’re in good company!”
Catherine is played by Corrie Miller, who most recently appeared as Esther in Blackbird Theatre’s premiere adaptation of the John Updike novel Roger’s Version. Corrie has performed with Boiler Room Theatre, Street Theatre, Chaffin’s Barn and Studio Tenn, and last appeared with TWTP in its U.S. professional premiere of the Irish play Unraveling the Ribbon. Arturo is played by René Millán, in his first Nashville role. René spent seven years as a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s acting company. He has appeared in Los Angeles with Cornerstone Theatre, in New Haven with Yale Repertory Theatre and on Broadway with the Public Theatre, as well as in film and television. The playwright, Robert Schenkkan, won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for The Kentucky Cycle and the 2014 Tony Award for Best Play for All The Way, which featured Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Johnson.
The production, an official Artober event, is supported by grants from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission. TWTP’s season sponsor for 2014-15 is HCA/TriStar Health.
By The Waters of Babylon opened Thursday, October 9, at North Nashville’s Z. Alexander Looby Theatre with evening performances Thursday through Saturday, and two Sunday matinees. The final performance is Sunday, October 19, at 2:30 pm. Tickets range from $10 to $15, with the second Thursday show designated as Pay What You Make an Hour Night.
Note: Because of adult situations and language, this production is not recommended for children.
Z. Alexander Looby Theatre is located at 2301 Rosa L Parks Boulevard, Nashville, Tenn. 37228-1205. Performance dates include: October 9–19. Times: 7:30 pm on October 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18; 2:30 pm on October 12 and 19. Tickets: adults $15, students and seniors (60+) $12. All seats are $10 on Thursday evenings. Group rates available for groups of 10 or more in any combination of ticket categories: adults $12 each, students and seniors $10 each. For group sales, call 615-681-7220.
For more information on the Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project, visit