Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Idle Thoughts about Idle Stage Talent

By Russ Bickerstaff
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While I was at the Boulevard Theatre fundraiser on Monday, I had the passing opportunity to talk to actress Anne Miller. She’s going to be in a show this fall, but doesn’t have any work for the time being. With the summer starting up, I suspect there are a lot of actors and actresses in a position like that . . . which really shouldn’t happen. With things generally slowing down for theatre in the summer, there are plenty of stages open. This past weekend, I had a chance to see a show developed by a few UWM theatre students . . . it only ran for one weekend at Carte Blanche and used the existing set that the theatre was using for its ongoing production of Cabaret. Forgive Us Our Sins was a brilliantly simple little one-weekend show that used the same 1930’s set for a short one-hour-plus drama set in the American south. The play wasn’t terribly complex, but it was really fun to see a completely new, student-written drama play out in a single hour—and it may never get produced again, but there’s no reason something like this couldn’t be happening every weekend over the course of the summer. There are plenty of stages all over the city that are largely empty for the next few months. .  .they could play host to dozens of little workshop pieces that would be open to anyone interested in seeing them. Charge a small enough price for tickets and you could easily have a group of people large enough to pay for the space for a couple of performances. With as much idle stage talent as there is in the city, it could really help mobilize the kind of creativity that could build new audiences from the ground up. If venues were to open their doors for a small flurry of smaller productions, it could really add a great deal to the local theatre scene.   

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