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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Modern Revolutionaries

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  Given the current state of our union, it’s not difficult to imagine that some people would seriously consider revolution. Local playwright Rex Winsome speculates on the lives of modern revolutionaries in his new, feature-length production, Paint the Town, a drama running July 11-27at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View.

  Insurgent Theatre, the local DIY outfit co-founded by Winsome, is producing the play, which follows Winsome and actress Kate Pleuss in the roles of contemporary revolutionaries at odds with the culture in which they live. He attempts to free her from that which binds her to society: her family.

  Winsome has been short on specifics, but the show’s advance press states that it’s a story of hardship, dedication and fratricide, of revolution and red paint. “Lots of red paint,” in fact. Winsome’s last feature-length play, Bring the War Home, was a serious anti-war, pro-violence piece produced during one of Insurgents’ first trips to the stage. Having gained plenty of experience since then, Insurgent is in excellent position to once again produce serious drama.

  After its initial run at the Alchemist, Paint the Town goes on tour at a number of venues on the East Coast, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and “somewhere in Indiana.” Shows that are designed for travel tend to be limited in terms of set and costuming, all of which has to be easily transportable. While this is the case with Paint the Town, Winsome states, “This isn't one of those minimal shows with no set and actors wearing all black or something; that'd be too easy. There will be a full set, costumes and props. The play is set in a cardboard shack built in a subway.”

  Local small-time theater guru Kurt Hartwig is building a set that will fit a rather elaborate structure into the cozy confines of Insurgent’s touring van. Traveling on a tight budget and performing at out-of-the-way venues echoes the spirit of the DIY punk scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Winsome speaks of fixing any broken bits of the set with duct tape, and everything in the production is designed for ease of travel. “Costumes and other set pieces will double as our own sleeping gear and clothing,” Winsome says. Adding to the intrepid feeling of the production, Winsome is taking the plunge and quitting his day job prior to the show’s opening.