Rattlestick Theater Focuses on Social Change in New Season

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Featuring music by Gloria Estefan, Cher and Maria Bethânia, the one-man play explores the intersection of queerness and Latino identity in the turbulent relationship between a larger-than-life Brazilian mother and son. “It’s extremely personal, lively and fun,” said Topol of the show, which reveals the secrets, memories, fears and celebrations of being an immigrant and first-generation American. Rattlestick’s fellow director, Danilo Gambini, will direct the world premiere, which will be his first professional production in the United States, having previously worked as an opera and musical theater director in his native Brazil.

“It will make everyone think about his relationship with his mother,” Topol said.

The show will be followed by Atlanta-based playwright Mansa Ra’s “In the Southern Breeze” in November. It centers the Black male experience over the centuries of American history as it follows five Black men who meet in the afterlife after their murders. Christopher Betts will direct.

Topol, who first glanced at the game when Rattlestick gave a reading in 2018, said, “I couldn’t get him out of my mind, especially when everything about George Floyd and the protests was going on. It really speaks to this moment.”

In the final show of the season and the only show to be available online only, viewers will be invited to plan their own theatrical experience in “Addressless”, the interactive virtual game that asks viewers to work together in small groups on Zoom to make choices. This illustrates the difficulties of homelessness. Written by Hungarian artist Martin Boross and adapted by daytime social worker Jonathan Payne, the piece will be presented virtually in January and February.

“The irony is that every choice you make as a character either costs money or years of your life,” says Topol, whether it’s a character sleeping on the street or in a hostel, asking people for money, or trying to find a job. “I hope people can empathize more and change after seeing this piece.”

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