'Agnes of God' receives seven MAT Award nominations
by Marie Nesmith
Aug 08, 2014 | 1211 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Presented at The Legion Theatre in March, The Pumphouse Players’ production of “Agnes of God” recently garnered seven Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Award nominations. In the drama, Karen Ruetz as Dr. Martha Livingstone battles with Suzanne Husting as Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, as she searches for the truth behind the death of a novice nun’s baby.

Along with Overall Performance of a Play, “Agnes of God” also netted the following nods in the Play categories — Director, Leslie McCrary; Lead Actress, Ruetz; Major Supporting Actress, Alesia Silcox; Major Supporting Actress, Husting; Set Design, Mike Wasson; and Lighting Design, Will Brooks.

“Receiving this many MAT nominations is the ultimate feather in the cap of our 2013-2014 season,” said Brooks, who in addition to being nominated for a MAT Award also serves as The Pumphouse Players president. “We received more nominations than any other production in the Play categories — musicals are nominated separately — and more nominations than all of our previous MAT submitted shows combined. This puts us on par with some of the professional theaters that compete in the same categories, like OnStage Atlanta. These nominations are very prestigious recognition. As I said earlier, there are several theaters that are members of the MAT organization that are professional houses, working with professional actors and crew who are paid for their work.

“Our shows are all volunteer based, so to receive this amount of recognition is amazing, not only for The Pumphouse, but for Cartersville in general, to know that we have local talent here that is as good, if not better than the shows that are available in Atlanta. The other thing that sets these nominations apart is the fact that the nominations come from judges that have traveled from all over the metro area and are presumably unfamiliar with our actors and crew, so they are basing these nominations purely on artistic merit, rather than nominating people that you might know or are friends with.”

To be presented Oct. 5 at The Roswell Cultural Arts Center in Roswell, the MAT Awards will recognize plays and individual performances in community and non-union professional theater.

“The Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards are a nonprofit organization that is made up of 18 theater companies based in and around Atlanta,” Brooks said. “They have a season that I believe typically runs from June to June and to be considered for the awards you first have to become a member theater. Once that process is complete, you submit a show to be part of the judged performances for that given season.

“There is a panel of MAT judges who travel to all of the shows that are submitted for each season and they score everything about the show, from lights to acting to directing to set design. Everything is taken into consideration. At the end of a season, the shows that have the highest scores are then selected as nominees.”

For McCrary, directing The Pumphouse Players’ production of “Agnes of God” was a rewarding experience from the start.

“It’s wonderful,” McCrary said, referring to “Agnes of God” receiving numerous MAT Award nominations. “It’s an acknowledgment that what we are doing, we’re evidently doing right. I really can’t speak to what the other plays did but for us, every now and then everything comes together and that’s what happened on this show. Everything jelled, everyone clicked together. There was great chemistry onstage. We had a great tech crew. Everything went right, went wonderful.

“When I [initially] read [the script], I started seeing blocking and characters in my head. When that happens, the director knows that’s a play you need to direct. I got a good vision of the play and it just struck a chord with me and I wanted to do it. It was amazing [to watch the play come together]. This has been the best cast and crew that a director could ever ask for. All of mine have been fun, but this one particularly fell together and was great.”

Along with the nominees, the MAT Award nods also recognize the efforts of everyone who was involved with the “Agnes of God” production, Brooks said.

“I have not personally won a MAT Award before, but have been nominated for an acting MAT Award in the past and even to be nominated is a thrill because of the company you keep,” Brooks said. “To be nominated for ‘Agnes of God’ is especially nice because the show was a family affair of sorts, with my wife, Morgan, doing the sound design and my mother-in-law, Leslie McCrary, directing the show. The best thing about these nominations, though, is that we all get to share in them together.

“Every aspect of producing a show feeds into all of the other aspects. The lights, sound and set enhance the [actors’] performances. The actors bring the play to life for the audience. The director provides a vision for the production that we all work together to achieve. There is a big team involved with putting these shows on and the individuals that have been nominated share the recognition with everyone else that worked so hard to put this show together, including our stage manager, Kandy Arnold; our lighting operator, Laurel Lowe; our sound operator, Tina Brush; our costumer, Sandy Cunningham; and last season’s Board of Directors, including Meghann Humphreys, Donna Young, David Pendergraft, Tony Bowers and Chris Hereth.”

He continued, “Shows as good as ‘Agnes of God’ don’t happen without all of those people working hard behind the scenes, so we congratulate all of them on this great recognition. The reason we participate in the MAT Awards every year is twofold. We do it [to] give our talented ‘Pumpies’ a shot at some major recognition as well as a way of showing the folks of Bartow County that there is some amazing talent here and they don’t have to travel very far or spend a ton of money to see professional level entertainment. It’s right here in our own backyards. We’ve got another great show running through Aug. 23 with ‘Harvey.’ Tickets for that show are available at our website, www.pumphouseplayers.com. We hope everyone will come out and see what we have to offer.”

For more information about the Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards, visit www.matawards.com.