Two actresses linked locally starring at Phoenix Theatre

Staff Reports

Two actresses with Columbus ties have been starring in a Phoenix Theatre critically acclaimed, heart-wrenching story of an Alabama folk artist. The production continues at the venue at 705 N. Illinois St. in downtown Indianapolis for eight more shows through Oct. 31.

The show, “Alabaster,” won the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize.

Columbus native and Indianapolis resident Maria Argentina Souza plays June, an amateur folk artist who never has shown her work. Columbus’ Jan Lucas portrays Bib, an aging, talking goat.

After a tornado barrels through the small town of Alabaster, Alabama, leaving nothing but death and destruction, only June, who cuts herself off from the world on her family farm, and her pet goats, Weezy and Bib, live through it.

June suffers from horrific PTSD and therefore agoraphobia. She gets up every day and feeds the goats, weeds the garden, and picks up her paintbrush.

When Alice, a prominent documentary-style lesbian photographer visits to take pictures of June’s scars, both are then forced to reconcile the pain of loss and recovery as they deal with a budding attraction.

Their relationship raises significant, deeper questions: What does it mean to be truly “seen?” How do we pick up the pieces? How do we move forward from trauma?

Clearly, this is a play about art. About healing.

This all-female drama “explores the meaning and purpose of art and the struggle of the lost and tortured souls that seek to create it,” according to promotional material.

Indianapolis theater critic Jay Harvey referenced Lucas breaking into the classic gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” during the production, adding that “to get to hear Jan Lucas in her other professional metier gave goosebump joy.” Lucas has long been a singer with folk-singing husband Tim Grimm.