Whatever deeper meaning you take from Doug Robinson’s The Figs - it’s absolutely hilarious and ludicrous, and peppered with characters we don’t often see in this genre - such as our gay princess and her love story.
Despite its wit and charm - Robinson’s piece has never seen the stage as a fully adapted play.
This March, The Figs will appear as one of the six new plays to come alive as a staged reading with local actors at American Stage’s Lift Every Voice New Play Festival.
"The Figs was an attempt to write a play that invites not only my own imagination but the imagination of an audience. I think we’ve all gotten good about suspending our disbelief and The Figs was an attempt to activate imagination,” Robinson said.
The playwright is only in his third year of grad school, and he first started chipping away at The Figs as a first-year student. Even so, Robinson manages to create a world in which a gaggle of eccentric characters exist in a kingdom ruled by a murderous kind driven mad by his love for figs.
It’s dark if you think about the nuts and bolts of the situation, but you can’t help but smirk at the play's self-awareness during priceless moments like this:
The king after he kills a 17-year-old soldier, “Am I kind of a dick?”
“Kind of ma, lord,” responds the other - still alive - soldier.
It’s reminiscent of “Monty Python”, with more wit. The story carries inclusiveness without needing to be congratulated for its inclusiveness, which makes this feel like a fairytale rooted in reality rather than a white-washed, heterosexual reality.
“As a Black boy whose first love was myth and folklore, this play is intended to support Blackness, Queerness, and the people of the Global Majority,” Robinson writes pre-script in his notes.
Our playwright put together this tale with the aid of director Sammy Zaisell, dramaturg Rebecca Flemister, and a “truly generous ensemble of actors.”
It’s one to watch.
And you can watch it live, at the Lift Every Voice New Play Festival at the James Museum. Running March 3-5. The Figs will appear on stage along with six other new plays, panels hosted by the writers, and special guests emerging from all over the theatre world.
“Many institutions of new play development in the American theatre have closed over these last pandemic years,” Robinson said. “New play festivals and staged readings are avenues for new plays to get the development they need to move from a first draft to a final draft.”
About the 2023 Lift Every Voice New Play Festival
March 3 - 5, 2023
At the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art 150 Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete.
All-Access Pass is $100 (+ $8 handling)
Be the first to experience new plays by the country’s leading playwrights.
When purchasing a pass, please select either the ORANGE or PURPLE pass. Each pass gives you access to all events; it just determines the order in which you see the plays.
About The James Museum
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art provides experiences that inspire human connection and transformation through art depicting the peoples, landscapes, and history of the American West, and wildlife of the world. More than 400 premier works of art including sculpture, paintings and jewelry are on display in the museum’s 26,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum engages the community through programs and educational opportunities, for all ages, that bring our history to life and amplify voices that are not often at the forefront of mainstream western art. When The James Museum opened in April 2018 it became one of the newest additions to St. Petersburg’s thriving arts community.
About American Stage
American Stage Theatre has operated as a non-profit 501(C)(3) in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, providing live theatrical productions as a professional regional equity theatre since 1977. As Tampa Bay’s longest-running, most critically acclaimed professional theatre company, its vision is to be a vital arts leader, connecting its community to world-class productions that celebrate the most powerful stories of the moment and the most defining stories from our past.
American Stage’s year-round accessible programming brings the power of quality live theatre to each generation. American Stage believes that through the telling of dynamic stories, the theatre has the power to unite us in our shared experiences and to deepen our connection to one another through the illumination of diverse perspectives.
Powerful Stories. Boldly Told.
Learn more about American Stage at AmericanStage.org
*Members of the press who are interested in attending and covering the event, email the American Stage marketing team at firstname.lastname@example.org