from Cityscape
5:31 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

Two St. Louis stage productions open tonight

Less than a week into 2011, St. Louis theater goers have two brand new productions to take in, both St. Louis premiers.  We had the chance to preview both today on Cityscape.

Best-selling author Walter Mosely is best known for his mystery novels about private investigator Easly Rawlins.  But he’s in town today for the St. Louis premiere of his very first play, The Fall of Heaven, an adaptation of his novel The Tempest Tales.   The Fall of Heaven is the story of Tempest Landry, a character Mosely hopes we can all relate to:

“Tempest Landry is kind of the every man.  He lives in Harlem.  He’s not a really good guy.  He’s not a really bad guy.  He’s somebody who you like and he’s funny.  But he might, you know, if he sees a tip on the table and nobody’s looking, he might take it and put it in his pocket.  If he sees a key in a door he might turn it and see what’s on the other side.  But he’s not an awful guy.  He’s a regular guy. "

A regular guy, that is, until he gets mistakenly killed by police and then finds himself in a high-stake argument with St. Peter at the pearly gates.

Though it's always tough for a writer to see their work interpreted by others, Mosely told us that the preview audience seemed to love the production last night and that he’s not one to “argue with the audience."

The Fall of Heaven opens tonight at 8pm at The Rep.

Also opening tonight is the third collaboration between Metro Theater Company and Edison Theater at Washington University: Eric Coble’s The Giver.

Coble’s work is an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, The Giver.  (Her book won the Newbery Award, but is also on the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books of the 1990’s.)

As Coble told us, if you’re under 30, you’ve probably heard of Lowry's book and it’s very likely “one of your favorite books."  If, however, you’re over 30, you’ve probably never heard of it.

But Metro’s artistic director, Carol North, thinks the production should move adult and youth audiences alike. It tells the story of young Jonas, a boy on the brink of growing up,  which North says is  "a point of resonance for all of us who are still trying to grow up and figure out what we’re going to do with our lives.”

Eric Coble's The Giver  opens tonight at 7:30 at Edison Theatre.