"Nothing grows in a bed of lies." Ken Zimmerman quotes from Moon Vine, the new play he's mounting at TheatreWorks. "I asked Teri [Feigelson] what she wanted audiences to take home with them, and she refers me to this line in her play," he says. "She calls it a Southern gothic. And it is."
Moon Vine's a winner of Playhouse on the Square's second annual NewWorks@TheWorks play-finding contest. It's a repeat performance for Feigelson. Her rural fable, Mountain View, a 2013 co-winner, also won an Ostrander award for best new play.
Zimmerman has done just about everything there is to do in the theater. He's turned in notable performances in shows like Hairspray, Urinetown, and Les Miserables. He spent decades as the artistic director for Playhouse on the Square, and after 16 years teaching at UT Martin, he's finally hung up his academic robes. Until last year's production of Mountain View at TheatreWorks, Zimmerman had never worked on a new play.
"She thought it was her play, and I thought it was my play," he says, remembering creative conflicts between the two first-timers. "This time it's 'our' play," he says, thrilled to be working on something new and collaborating with Feigelson again.
"The story takes place in the Mississippi Delta in 1970s," Zimmerman says, setting the scene. "Farmers were going under. Agribusiness was taking over. It all boils down to one single woman. It's about her fight to keep the family farm going. And it's about her loss, with themes of abandonment and lost youth. And there's some mysticism about it, too. Like I said, it's gothic."
"Moon Vine" at Theatreworks July 8th-31st. playhouseonthesquare.org