Posts tagged ‘BackStage Theatre Company’

A family secret from BackStage Theatre Company

I’m on the Board of BackStage Theatre Company. Our BackStage family has a little secret. Would you like to know what it is? Click here and we’ll whisper it to you.

Orange Flower Water by BackStage Theatre Company

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m on the Board of BackStage Theatre Company. I’m even the Chair of the Marketing Committee. So you should basically ignore everything I write here, as it is undoubtedly an instance of utterly biased shilling.

OK, so given my involvement, how should I write critically about a BackStage production? My job on the Board is partly to be a cheerleader for the company, after all. I suppose now that the show has closed, I can’t do anything good or bad for this production’s box office or audience reception, but there is always the next show and next season to consider. Maybe the smartest thing to do is simply to keep it honest and brief.

Since I’ve been coming to BackStage productions, I’ve seen two excellent realistic kitchen sink dramas (and zero bad ones). Both were under-appreciated, and both featured Jason Huysman and Tony Bozzuto. The first was On An Average Day, last season at Chemically Imbalanced Theater. Frankly, I can’t think of a better set for that hole-in-the-wall than the disgusting infested kitchen that seemed to grow organically from my friend Heath Hays’ imagination into full realization in every nook and cranny of the Chemically Imbalanced performing space. I really wish more people had seen that show.

For the next one, Craig Wright’s Orange Flower Water, Huysman and Bozzuto were joined by the excellent Maggie Kettering and Shelley Nixon. All displayed a level of real courage and intense focus to be so emotionally bare, in such a very small, intimate space. Intimate is certainly the best word to describe this production. Jessica Keuhnau’s and Brandon Wardell’s simple, effective set, beautifully lit by Jared Moore, consisted of a square rotating platform, with a queen size bed on it, set at a 45 degree angle to all four banks of surrounding seats. Wallpapered walls behind the audience put us all in corners of a bedroom, very very close to two disintegrating marriages. And the cast, directed by New Leaf Theatre’s Artistic Director, Jessica Hutchinson, met this intimate audience with a subtlety of craft that drew us in and wouldn’t let us out. After this production, I would never like to see Orange Flower Water produced behind a proscenium. It would be too disappointingly distant.

I do have a complaint about the costume design, by Laura Kollar. I am not sure why these Minnesotans were wearing Bears and Cubs licensed attire. This and other costume choices were sloppy in an otherwise tight production.

BackStage’s website has a new feature. The page for each show has a comments section, where anybody can share their thoughts or reactions. There are some good ones here and here about Orange Flower Water.

Price: Full price to BackStage productions is $20. Amy and I are subscribers, though, so we got 3 tickets for $45, bringing this cost to $15 per ticket. Naturally, I think this is a great value, and think you should subscribe, too, when subscriptions go on sale later this spring. BackStage’s final show of the season is Edward Albee’s Play About the Baby. It opens tonight!