Playwright Thomas Meloncons new play is called The Man Who Saved New Orleans. Its a misnomer, of course, because we all know nobody saved New Orleans. Meloncon explains the title refers to one of the characters, not the city. Arthur Prejean is an 86-year-old blind man who heads the family [in the play]. Theyve come to Houston after Hurricane Katrina to save what pieces of their lives they can. Its his grandson that they call New Orleans.
Meloncon, who has family roots in the Big Easy, wrote the play because It was a historical event; I call it an American tragedy. As a playwright, I was compelled to write about this. Its like I couldnt escape it, he says. I wanted to show the loss, and not simply in terms of property, but in terms of the history, the culture, the family ties, the music, the relationships, the love people left behind. I wanted to show all of that. But its not just tragedy for tragedys sake. Its about hope, too. Arthur Prejean is putting his hope in his grandson, hoping that if young people can go back to New Orleans with dreams in their hands and not guns, with the determination to rebuild the city, then everything wont be lost.
Amen, brother, amen.
The Man Who Saved New Orleans has its world premiere today at 7:30 p.m. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through February 22. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main. For information, call 713-520-0055 or visit www.ensemblehouston.com. $15 to $35.
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Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 24. Continues through Feb. 22, 2009