Jennifer Underwood, Dennis Bailey. Photo by Kimberley Mead.

Jennifer Underwood, Dennis Bailey. Photo by Kimberley Mead.

SEASON 25 | MAY 2013

Qualities of Starlight
A twisted comedy

By Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Rudy Ramirez
Presented by the VORTEX Repertory Company


An award-winning twisted comedy about the expansion of the universe and the contraction of a troubled family.

Theo Turner is a young cosmologist on the verge. But Theo’s “big bang” isn’t theoretical. His universe explodes when he and his wife travel to the Appalachian South to visit his parents about an impending adoption only to discover that Theo's aging parents are meth addicts. Science crashes violently into nature, identities shift, memories speak, and the future can only be won by renegotiating the past. The cosmos is no more wondrous than a troubled human family improvising its path into the future.


Jennifer Underwood, Dennis Bailey, Toby Minor, and Andréa Suzanne Rebecca Smith.


Directed by Rudy Ramirez. Scenic Designer Ann Marie Gordon. Lighting Designer Patrick Anthony. Costume Designer Michelle Symons. Sound Designer David DeMaris. Prop Designer Helen Parish. Dramaturgy by Carrie Kaplan and Natashia Lindsey. Production Photos by Kimberley Mead.


B. Iden Payne Awards
Outstanding Original Script
Outstanding Comedy Production
Outstanding Comedy Direction
Outstanding Set Design
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy: Toby Minor


A previous version of Qualities of Starlight was the winner of the 2010 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award and was produced by the Essential Theatre, Peter Hardy, Artistic Director, as part of the 2010 Power Plays Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. A new draft was subsequently workshopped and produced at Cultural Development Corporation’s 2012 Source Festival in Washington, DC.

Qualities of Starlight is the sixth play in a 7-play collection called The Attapulgus Elegies. Through the lives of the residents, over the course of the last two decades, the collection chronicles the death of a small, rural town in the foothills of the Appalachians Mountains.

“…a well-crafted…engaging drama… a welcome find.” ~ Washington Post

“…showing people determined to recover from the bruises of the past and move towards a brighter, more hopeful future.”~ DC Theatre Scene

"So dang funny!" ~ VSA Arts of Georgia

Presented with the assistance of SCRIPTWORKS through their FINERPOINT FUND FOR NEW PLAY PRODUCTION and funded and supported in part by VORTEX Repertory Company, a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, and by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin's future. Visit Austin at