O'Quinn, Jim, American Theatre
DATELINE: DETROIT. That's the first impression you get from this month's cover, with its comically impassioned scene from Lisa D'Amour's hot new play, named for the Motor City. And if D'Amour's wild-and-woolly script (page 63) doesn't tell you everything you need to know about what life's like in the environs of that emblematic American locale, thumb over to Davi Napoleon's article "The Lake Effect" (page 34) for a richly detailed tour of the recession-defying arts scene in Southeast and Central Michigan, where a dozen new theatre companies have blossomed in just the past five years. Where else but in these pages is the roiling Detroit of a playwright's imagination likely to sidle up to the gritty-but-optimistic Detroit of a journalist's on-the-scene reportage?
Don't be fooled, though--this is an issue with legs. Once you've attended to the down-to-earth enthusiasms of that loose-knit gang of young artists revitalizing Detroit, head south in the company of actor Bryce Pinkham to the quiet streets and homey front porches of Wharton, Tex. (page 40). That's the town, of course, that served as the late Horton Foote's template for his epic Orphans' Home Cycle and other plays, many of which will be remounted at an upcoming two-month-long festival in nearby Dallas/Fort Worth. Pinkham and his castmates from the Foote plays find themselves captivated and enriched by their experience of Wharton and its people. …