Live theater returns to Webster

4 Nov

Perhaps you were lucky enough to be in the audience last year when the Working Class Theatre Company performed  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare — Abridged at the gazebo.  If so, I’m sure you were as impressed as I was with the talent this little company brings to the stage.

So you’ll be interested in this news: the Working Class Theatre Company has returned with a brand new play, which they’ll present in five shows this coming weekend at the Harmony House.

The production is called What’s the Capital of Bolivia?, and it’s directed by Sander Nagar, who also directed last summer’s hilarious Shakespeare parody.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this performance. For starters (and this one’s obvious), it means that live theater is returning to the village. And there’s nothing like a good play to invigorate a town’s night life.

Secondly, this particular play is a world premier. It’s written by local playwright Robert G. Barone and has never been produced anywhere else before.

Jimmy Johnson and Scott Ellsworth play brothers home for their mother’s funeral. Tony Perri plays their father.

The last really neat thing about this performance is the way it’s being performed. The entire set has been plopped down not on the stage, but in the middle of the Harmony House floor. Taped lines outline the acting area, so in some places the actors will be only a few feet from the front row of the audience. It’s kind of like theater-in-the-round (except it’s a square).  Nagar explained that the decision to perform on the floor was a deliberate attempt to deeply engage the audience. “While you’re watching,” he said, “you feel like you’re a fly on the wall.”

The theater company is hoping that this weekend’s production will be just the first of many appearances at the Harmony House, Nagar said. For a while now, he’s been working closely with the Chorus of the Genesee, who own the facility, and is pleased that to have “finally gotten a foot in the door.”

“We’ve always considered Webster our home,” Nagar said. Ultimately, he added, the Working Class Theatre Company would like to set up their own space in Webster, and settle into a three-play season: one show in the fall, one in the spring, and a summer production at the gazebo. Then maybe also sprinkle some staged readings throughout the rest of the year.

This view from the Harmony House stage shows how the performance area is set up on the floor.

It looks to me like they’ve got a real good start.

 

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