By Cass Teague
Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to present TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, starring Eddie George and Joel Diggs. Written by Suzan-Lori Parks, this play is an exploration of two brothers struggling with women, work, poverty, gambling, racism, and their troubled upbringings. One strives to make an honest living as the other tries to luck his way into fortune. While Lincoln and Booth cannot change their names or upbringing, they can change their paths in life.
Lincoln and Booth’s lives have always revolved around each other, but their center of gravity is shifting as both struggle to define themselves and claim their place. Tension arises as the men fail to agree on the best way to live their lives, and a dispute about a family inheritance only makes matters worse. Driven by pride, love, desperation, and dreams, they are forced to go head to head to learn what it takes to come out on top.
Directed by Jon Royal, the show runs from February 9 through the 24, with previews February 7 & 8, in TPAC’s Johnson Theater. Nashville Rep will host talkback events on February 15 and February 22 after the Friday evening performances.
Audiences who attend on a Saturday night will have the chance to meet Eddie George and Joel Diggs when they do Meet & Greet events in the lobby after the show.
TOPDOG/UNDER-DOG won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2002 and received a Tony nomination for Best Play among other accolades.
“The meaning of the play isn’t just confined to a man’s experience,” says the playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks. “It’s about what it means to be family and, in the biggest sense, the family of man, what it means to be connected with somebody else. The play speaks to who the world thinks you’re going to be, and how you struggle with that.”
Jon Royal is thrilled for the opportunity to direct this show.
“Both of these brothers are ensnared in the American Dream, which dominates their past and present, and it is embodied in the 3 Card Monte hustle which Link is so adept at and Booth is desperate to take part in,” he says. “This game sells the very myth and promise that America is forged on: ‘opportunity.’ Who actually has a shot at winning, in a ‘dog eat dog’ world?”
Since 1985 Nashville Repertory Theatre has been a critically acclaimed regional theater, creating the highest quality professional productions and serving as a cultural, educational, and economic resource in Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities. Nashville Rep produces work that is designed, built, and rehearsed in Nashville by highly skilled actors, designers, directors, and technicians. A non-profit theatre, Nashville Rep is committed to bringing classic and contemporary theatre to Nashville that inspires empathy and prods intellectual and emotional engagement in audiences.
InsideOut of the Lunch Box: Topdog/Underdog, Feb. 12, 2019, at Noon, is a free event, but reservations are required; go to tpac.org. The first 250 to register get a free box lunch.
This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.