Performing Arts

The Magnetic Theatre Presents Malverse

The cast of Malverse. Photo by Rodney Smith

The Magnetic Theatre premieres award-winning playwright John Crutchfield’s Malverse on Thursdays through Saturdays, May 13 through June 3. Low-priced previews will be held Thursday, May 11, and Friday, May 12. All performances are at 7:30 p.m., and will be held at Magnetic 375.

“Most of what comes out of my pen,” Crutchfield says, “is this weird, mythopoetic phantasmagoria. The closest Malverse gets to that is that it’s kind of an urban legend slash ghost story, and there’s a fair amount of twisted humor in it. But basically it’s a straight-up social drama about serious things happening in a real town to real people who try to deal with it the best they can.”

Malverse’s story is one of race relations and urban gentrification. “Set in a small town very much like Asheville,” Crutchfield says, “the play tells the story of a young, middle-class white couple who renovate an old house in a traditionally African-American neighborhood.” Although he began work on the play three years ago, he says, “the present political situation in this country—and in North Carolina in particular—makes it eerily relevant.”

The play stars Gary Gaines, Andrew Gall, Darren Marshall, Laura Tratnik and Valeria Watson. Artistic director Steven Samuels will direct the production.

Tickets, Samuels says, reflect new low prices. “We’ve decided we want to help and encourage people to take a chance on ‘new works, locally grown’ by experimenting, for a limited time only, with greater affordability.”

Magnetic 375 is located at 375 Depot Street in the River Arts District. Previews are $12. Tickets for all other performances are $16. Student rush tickets ($10) are available 15 minutes before curtain with valid ID. To reserve tickets, visit For information only, call 828.239.9250.

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