Saturday, May 29, 2010
Show #26 "Doubt" at Gold From Straw Theatre
There's no doubt about it....I find the idea of a brand new start-up theatre company to be exciting. Even their name, "Gold From Straw" perfectly describes the exhilarating feeling I get when I see what this infant company is about.
First of all, they have occupied the space formerly known as the Mecca Theater. For those who are long-timers here in Tacoma, they all know the Mecca as the X-rated porn theater it once was. Think infamous. Think sleazy. Think grime.
Now, the Mecca building is a gutted-out (but clean!) warehouse-like space that this enterprising company has magically turned into a theatre. A legitimate one. A shoe-string budget one. A marvelous and ingenious one.
Rented risers support rows of folding chairs. Large black curtains surround the performance space and separates it from the "lobby." The backstage dressing room is walled off by rows of cardboard and duct tape. The scenery on stage consists mostly of paper and a door frame.
Theatre on the cheap? Perhaps. But this is not cheap theatre by any means. This is Great Theatre!!!
John Patrick Shanley's story of suspicion, accusations and doubt in a Catholic school kept us riveted the entire evening. Sure, the writing is brilliant, but what was truly eye-popping was the quality of Gold From Straw's production. Four actors giving four terrific performances. Scenic design made with unexpected materials. Lighting design effectively done with only a few actual stage lights. The rest was done with flood lights. Yes, really.
Add to that, two nuns habits, one priest's outfit, a sweatshirt, a 1960's woman's dress and coat, a soundtrack, a couple of pieces of furniture and a few props and voila! You've got one of the best shows Tacoma has seen this season.
I hope Gold From Straw finds success here in Tacoma. We need new artistic endeavors. We need new ideas. We need to showcase more work from more Pierce County artists.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Gold From Straw. We hope you take off your shoes and stay a while.
Production graphics courtesy of Gold From Straw Theatre