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Reflection on Spark in Atlanta (#1)

Working Title Playwrights, Avondale Estates, GA

November 11, 2012

Directed by Justin Anderson (of Synchronicity Theatre, Atlanta)

                              By Jill Patrick

The dissonance of survival pulses through Spark just as it courses through the veins of every member of the working poor, by both service members (who too frequently live at or below the poverty line) and those that love them. Lexie's enlistment was meant to save the family from even more economic despair, none of them foreseeing the psychological devastation her enlistment would have. I come from a long line of military veterans, myself a disabled US Navy veteran. What Spark illustrates so clearly is not the impact of war alone, but the impact of assimilation into one rigid culture completely isolated from all others... and then returning to the other. When it should be homecoming, the military veteran so often receives (her) return to civilian life as yet another tribunal. But all the characters in this play are veterans - of life and loss and disappointment and battle and they are scrappy and funny and gut-wrenching as they, ultimately, return to the one thing they thought they'd lost - hope. 

This play speaks both softly and loudly about sacrifice and service and our reading was deftly directed by Justin Anderson with the consummate talents of Cara Mantella (Evelyn), Taylor Dooley (Lexie), Luis Hernandez (Hector), Sarah Wallis (Ali) and Geoff McKnight (Vaughn). Working Title Playwrights is proud to have partnered with Kaye Coker and Veteran's Heart Georgia to be part of this global play reading scheme.

Jill Patrick, Managing Artistic Director of Working Title Playwrights, is an Atlanta-based playwright and poet. Her one-act play If I Told You I Love You Would You Believe Me? premiered in Austin, Texas, 1986, winning the first ever Moody Award for Playwriting. Her work can be seen in literary magazines such as New Millennium WritingsCreative License, and Red Hills Review. Jill is former host of the Midtown Atlanta Writers Group and has honed her craft along side such working novelists as Karen Abbott, Joshilyn Jackson, Anna Schachner, Fred Willard, and others. She is on the Advisory Board of Atlanta’s Essential Theatre and is a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, The Dramatists Guild of America and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Jill became Managing Artistic Director of Working Title Playwrights in 2006, not based on her playwriting experience, but on her successful track record of creating opportunities to excel. By fostering growth and nurturing continued excellence in playwriting for all the members of the organization, from novice to pro, under her guidance WTP has grown not only in membership but in programs offered and is now at the forefront of new play development in the Southeast. Jill lives and loves with her infinitely better half, Perry, and their collection of well-fed and happily assorted strays. She strives each and every day to keep the faith that there are only three things that will change the universe: education, motivation and wormholes.