ATHENS, GA – UGA Theatre presents Meg Miroshnik’s “The Tall Girls,” directed by Anna Pieri. Performances will be held in the Fine Arts Building Cellar Theatre Sept. 21–22, 25–28 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 23 and 30 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 and $12 for UGA students. Tickets can be purchased online at ugatheatre.com/tallgirls, via phone at 706-542-4400, or in person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box offices.
Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Poor Prairie, “The Tall Girls” tells the story of a Depression-era girls’ basketball team cobbled together by a mysterious man with a murky past. The girls of Poor Prairie have their sights set beyond the scorched horizon of their meager little town and basketball serves as a welcome relief to the harsh realities of their Dust Bowl existence. The girls struggle to escape the perception that their love of basketball is little more than a novelty.
UGA department of theatre and film studies alumna Anna Pieri will serve as director for Miroshnik’s timely work. Pieri, who graduated from UGA with her MFA in Acting in May 2018, brings a personal connection to the production. “When I read The Tall Girls, I was reminded of my time as a center, grabbing a rebound off the backboard and immediately taking a defensive stance.” Pieri also grew up in a setting not too far removed from the events that inspired the playwright’s work. “Miroshnik’s grandfather actually coached an undefeated girls’ basketball team in the 1930s ten minutes from where I grew up,” noted Pieri.
In a production centered around basketball, Pieri felt it was crucial for the actresses to display their athletic prowess during the audition process. “I wanted the girls to have a sense of confidence when they handle the ball, which serves two functions. The first is that it conveys realism while you’re watching the show and the second is the audience doesn’t have to worry that an errant basketball is going to fly into the crowd at any point,” joked Pieri.
Scenic and lighting designer Melanie Stevens similarly grew up with a love for basketball. She took inspiration for her designs from the contrast between the girls’ harsh realities and their ambitious aspirations. “These girls feel liberated when they’re playing basketball and all of the troubles associated with their everyday lives seem to fade away. I wanted to juxtapose that sense of levity against the stark circumstances in which they live,” said Stevens.
“The Tall Girls” premiered in 2014 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and department head David Saltz is excited to bring Miroshnik’s show back to Georgia. “Many of our alumni are making a splash in the Atlanta theatre scene, so it’s exhilarating to see our current students putting on a show that was born on Atlanta stages,” said Saltz. With several UGA alumni dominating the nominations for Atlanta’s Suzi Bass Awards in recent years, “The Tall Girls” is the first of six opportunities during the 2018-2019 season to see tomorrow’s rising stars.
Jean – Caroline Wilson
Almeda – Emma Mathews
Inez – Caroline Caden
Lurlene – Hannah Martin
Puppy – Kiana Washington
Haunt Johnny – Carter Iddings
Understudies: James Cogswell, Mary Grace Palmer, August Williams
Director: Anna Pieri
Scenic & Lighting Design: Melanie Stevens
Costume Design: Daniel Carter
Sound Design: Todd Curless
Writer: Amy Cole, email@example.com