Throughout most of the twentieth century, Gees Bend was an isolated dot on the map of Southern Alabama, where poverty, racism and sexism were constant companions for the dwindling number of residents. Gees Bend made national headlines in 2002 when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston opened an exhibition featuring the colorful patchwork quilts made by its women residents; the exhibition went on to grand acclaim when it traveled to the Whitney Museum, where a critic for The New York Times called the quilts eye-poppingly gorgeous.
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In 2007, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival commissioned a play about the place and its remarkable residents that became Gees Bend. Written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder and set to rousing gospel music, the play features richly drawn characters at the center of the tale is Sadie, a girl who marries at 15, has children and is loved too hard by her husband. The quilts are a large part of the story, as they become symbols of the enduring strength and resilience of the Bends women. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through February 27. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main. For information, call 713-520-0055 or visit www.ensemblehouston.com. $15 to $35.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 29. Continues through Feb. 27, 2011