John Mabey’s A Complicated Hope, winner of the 2022 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award, receives a full production starting Friday at West End Performing Arts Center. Developed in Atlanta by Theatrical Outfit and Working Title Playwrights and being presented as part of the 2022 Essential Theatre Play Fest, it is described by the playwright as “a play about hope, shining a light on the darkest corners of grief.” Mabey began writing the script in the week after his father’s death. “The structure of A Complicated Hope is designed to mirror the often-disjointed experience of grief over time, with moments of laughter, fury, and everything in-between,” he says. “And although each of the characters are connected by a common loss, this story explores their complex paths back to each other and themselves.” Preview performance tonight at 8 p.m. Through August 28; playing in repertory with Daniel Carter Brown’s The Outrage Machine.
Square Blues, Horizon Theatre’s world premiere production of Shay Youngblood’s script about three generations of southern Black activists in summer 1992, zeroes in on generational differences in response to racial inequity. ArtsATL critic Jim Farmer says there’s much to recommend the show, including topical material, fascinating characters, strong performances (especially by Olivia Dawson as family matriarch and café owner Odessa Blue and Jay Jones as her son, Square), and stage design (by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, with Robbie Hayes handling shifting wall projections). Ultimately, though, the play leaves you wanting more, Farmer writes: “This works better in individual moments than it does as a cohesive whole.” Through August 21.
RoleCall Theater, performing in an intimate black-box space at Ponce City Market, has a small but energetic cast of seven acting up in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, promising “romance, magic, and lots of laughs.” You already know that Puck is going to, well, Puck things up for the four young lovers as, meanwhile, a group of six Athenian craftsmen attempt to rehearse their play for the Duke of Athens’ wedding. Still, the joy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, like love itself, endures. Through August 20.
Renowned singer/songwriter John Hiatt comes to Atlanta for shows Wednesday and Thursday, August 10 and 11, at City Winery, with slide guitar maestro Sonny Landreth playing in his band. Hiatt’s landmark album, Bring The Family, was released in 1987 and his songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, B.B. King and Willie Nelson. His song “Have A Little Faith In Me” alone has been covered by Delbert McClinton, Joe Cocker, Jewel and Mandy Moore.
Singer/songwriter Tyler Lyle was born in Carrollton, the son of a prominent local musician, and is now based in Atlanta. Aside from his solo career as a folk and country artist, Lyle is also part of the synth-pop duo The Midnight, which has released four albums. Lyle’s career got a jump-start when he joined John Mayer, Clay Cook and Jennifer Nettles as a winner of the Open Mic Shootout at Eddie’s Attic in 2010. Lyle will return to Eddie’s Attic for a show on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ahead of his upcoming album The Transcendentalists. Tickets are $15.
A new exhibit, Extension of Self: what it means to be human in a digital world, opens Monday at Georgia Tech’s Price Filbert Library Gallery. Six artists have been working with Georgia Tech researchers to bring to life the intersection of art, science, technology and accessibility: Chanell Angeli, Eve Brown, Emma Chammah, Ashutosh Dhekne, Bojana Ginn and Noura Howell. Free. Weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October 14. 704 Cherry Street NW.
There’s still time to see the High Museum of Art retrospective exhibit Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books before it closes on Sunday. This fun summer exhibit showcases nearly 100 of Jeffers’ artworks, some of them never before seen. The artist/author’s wildly popular children’s books, among them The Day the Crayons Quit, have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and have won a slew of awards. Here in Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre got into the act with its summer production The Incredible Book Eating Boy, based on the Jeffers’ book of the same name. It plays through August 14.
Atlanta artist Sandy Teepen’s solo show at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance opens on Saturday. Teepen is known for her one-of-a-kind fabric collages that have been showcased in exhibitions across the country. “I like order and disorder, design and cultural references,” she says of her work. Sandy Teepen: Quilted Collages features 20 vibrant quilted artworks and runs through August 31. Opening reception Saturday, 5-7:30 p.m.
Author Liselle Sambury will discuss her latest novel, Blood Like Fate, with J Elle Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a virtual conversation hosted by Brave + Kind Bookshop in partnership with Charis Books & More. The novel is the sequel to Blood Like Magic, which received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews. Tickets are $19.99 and registration is required.