Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: Outside of the Box:

To catch the latest offering from Amber Kelly and her Theater of Thought you have to drive to a Pawtucket parking lot and stay there. In your car. In the dark.

You will then be instructed to turn your radio to 89.5 FM and soon you will hear two actors talking in a van parked in front of you. The sliding side door of the vehicle is open so you can see the goings-on from your car.

But this production is more akin to a live drive-in movie, where close ups are projected on a screen, or in this case a painted brick wall. Videos of flashback sequences are also seen on the wall.

This is just the latest site-specific project from Kelly who, since she arrived here from New York a couple of years ago, has been putting on plays in unusual locations. Tape, which takes place in a motel room, was staged in a Galilee inn.

Another play about a couple trapped in a snow-bound cabin took place in a shack in someone’s backyard in Narragansett.

Low overhead. Highly creative. Amazingly, those shows that challenge the existing corporate model and use their imagination instead of their checkbook create exciting theater that eschews the cookie-cutter list of plays and musicals that are like the suburbs in their rows and rows of similar little boxes feel.

And it's done without spending the extra dollar. They're done by stretching the one you have. And, you know, thinking like an artist rather than an accountant.