Hamilton Southeastern High School theater teacher Ethan Mathias was all set to see a reading of his play “Provenance” in May 2020 as part of the Actors Theatre of Indiana Lab Series.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic halted live performances and ATI was forced to cancel.
“Provenance” will now be the first reading of the 2021-22 ATI Lab series at 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Studio Theater in the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
“I’m very eager to see ‘Provenance’ take the next step in its evolution with this reading,” the Fishers resident said. “It was disappointing but understandable when live theater shut down throughout the world in 2020. This rescheduled reading is something I’ve been looking forward to throughout the pandemic, and I’m so glad Actors Theatre of Indiana is including it with their new season.”
The play’s plot centers on philanthropist Stephen Aldridge, who was a legend in the fictional town of Bayleigh, Ind. Just days before the local museum is scheduled to open a new exhibit honoring his legacy, his granddaughter Allison returns home for her father’s funeral. Sorting through her family’s history with the devoted staff of the Heartland Museum, Allison discovers new friends and new stories about her beloved grandfather that challenge her memories and force everyone to think carefully about how much they value truth, and which truths are most important.
“For now, the script ATI will present includes only some minor revisions and clarifications from its original form,” Mathias said. “With everything that’s happened in the world since I wrote the first draft of the play, there are definitely some revisions I will explore at a future date and will also incorporate things I learn from this reading.”
Mathias said he got the idea when he accompanied HSE’s state champion We the People team to the 2019 national competition in Washington, D.C.
“While we were at the Smithsonian, I saw an exhibit that was a full-size house that they used to chronicle American history through the stories of the families that had lived there,” he said. “I thought about how museums put together exhibits about specific families and wondered what sorts of bumps they might encounter along the way.”
The other performances are set for Nov. 13, Feb. 12, 2022, and May 14, 2022.
Tickets are $10. For more visit thecenterpresents.org.