the theatre I had - HNT # 2

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Continued from last week...

So, in October 1998 we began restoring the space back to usability and converting it into a performance space. I had also put out notices that a youth theatre program was being conducted for free. On the day the program was to begin I walked into an empty room. Over the next month I hustled, cajoled - did everything I could to get some students and young people in. I suspect that theatre was not exactly the kind of activity that the average gang-banger was interested in participating in. I had also plunged into the of writing a brand new full length piece - just to announce the opening of our new space.

In February 1999, "The Dead Guy Show" (pictures here are from the second production) premiered... and was the last original play I wrote. Personally I still think that it's the most fully realized piece I've created. Over the next year we produced 3 more shows in the space. In the meantime, with the help of a couple of theatre friends (one of whom was actually teaching in the Continuation School upstairs) the youth theatre program and the formation of the All Too Real Players finally began to take off in October of the same year with a production of "Juvies."”

The clean-up made it workable but not complete. In the Summer of 2000 we were awarded a grant to upgrade the theater. My plan was not just to renovate but also to restore. The space was one of the first synagogues in the city (built in 1918) and the Oak paneling on the original altar had gone through a fair degree of abuse over the years. We also extended the stage another 5 feet making it 20 feet deep and 36 feet wide. This made the dimensions close to the one Shakespeare worked in at the original Globe.

I was still making a pittance (about $500 a month) but a survivable pittance. Besides, I had the coolest theatre space in town. My theatre company was the only independent one dealing almost exclusively in originals. The kids were being trained in tech. I was alive and doing what I was meant to... there was much to be thankful for.

to be continued week after next... (there's an anniversary post next week - remember?)

Cheers and Happy HNT... and check out Kien's second video HNT! AND Kowboiandy has posted his first!

Oh, and if you missed my pitch for "Bum Rap" go 2 posts down.LOL!


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