Tuesday, September 23, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;42.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-09-23 06:16:46
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Artists Collective Theatre opens second season this weekend in Nashua

NASHUA – Now that school is almost back in session, it’s time for “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”

Fear not; it’s just the season opener play for Artists Collective Theatre. The company, which makes its home in the Hunt Memorial Building on Library Hill at the top of Main Street, begins its second season of unique plays with “Gruesome,” which focuses on a 30-year relationship between Kayleen and Doug, two friends who first meet in their school nurse’s office when they are just 8 years old. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – Now that school is almost back in session, it’s time for “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”

Fear not; it’s just the season opener play for Artists Collective Theatre. The company, which makes its home in the Hunt Memorial Building on Library Hill at the top of Main Street, begins its second season of unique plays with “Gruesome,” which focuses on a 30-year relationship between Kayleen and Doug, two friends who first meet in their school nurse’s office when they are just 8 years old.

As the years go by, the two meet time and again at hospitals, nurses offices and funeral homes, and the audience puzzles their story together as time jumps back and forth in five-year increments. The play is an examination of the important moments, big and small, that make up a relationship throughout the years, and the small damages we inflict on each other and ourselves.

The characters are played by Casey Preston and ACT co-founder Suzanne Delle. Delle described how the company developed this year’s season.

“ACT is a collaborative process,” she said. “What happens is all the members suggest shows. We take a couple things in mind: Our Hunt Building space, our membership, who we want to work with. A lot of scripts were picked and read, and when we came back to the table to discuss them, we realized ‘Gruesome Playground Injuries,’ ‘Clybourne Park,’ and “Three Days of Rain’ all had to do with the trickeries of time. Time is being played with,” she said.

“For example, in ‘Gruesome,’ we see the characters at five-year intervals, but not chronologically,” Delle continued. “In ‘Clybourne,’ the acts are in different time periods; the common piece is the house in Chicago. And in ‘Rain,’ it starts with adult kids talking about their parents, and then we go back 30 years earlier and see the parents. We think we know our parents, but…”

Upon seeing the common theme of the three plays, Delle said ACT decided to explore them as a cohesive season.

If you’ve never seen a performance in the historic Hunt Memorial Building, it’s a different experience than sitting in a standard theater space. ACT uses the front library room, with built-in bookcases and fireplace, as well as the entry foyer to present either entire shows, or bouncing back and forth between the two for different scenes.

Delle said they’re still planning how to fully utilize their options for the three plays. “The first one, what makes it challenging for our space, is it takes place in five-year increments, and they’re all different places,” she said. “So we’re using the main (library) room, but flipping it so the audience is facing the Main Street windows.”

“Clybourne Park” will also be in the main room, Delle said, and “Three Days of Rain” will utilize the foyer and possibly other spaces.

ACT is reaching out to its fellow thespians with its first show. For “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” ACT is offering 2-for-1 tickets if you do theater in New Hampshire. “In New York, you show your union card for professionals night; we’ll just take your word for it,” Delle said. “We decided we’d love to do a theater artist discount for the first weekend. Come see what we do that you don’t do; introduce yourself to us. We’re happy to offer this to our friends in New Hampshire theater,” she said.

Auditions will be held Sunday and Monday to cast the second and third shows. “We are a membership organization, but ‘Clybourne’ and ‘Rain’ parts are still available,” Delle said. “From 3-7 p.m. Sunday and 6-9 p.m. Monday, we’ll audition people with their one-minute monologue; be prepared to stay and meet the directors.”

“Some of the roles in ‘Clybourne’ are pretty specific; it has to do with age range and race,” Delle continued. “The show is based on ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ so there are specific African-American characters and whites. But we’re looking outside the box for ‘Rain.’” Email the organization at artistscollective
theatre@gmail.com to
arrange an audition.

This season, ACT is bringing new talent into the organization in other ways as well. “We have our first outside director, Boston-based Tasia Jones,” Delle said. “We’re very excited about opening up our organization to new people.” Also coming in from afar is Florida resident Jennifer Burke, formerly of New Hampshire. “We like to do special events, and we found one we’re doing Oct. 24-25,” Delle said. “It’s a one-woman show, ‘The Belle of Amherst.’ It’s about Emily Dickinson, and it also deals with time issues.”

In addition to producing shows not usually seen around here, ACT has a huge following for its fun after-show parties. “We like the fact that we’re known for our opening-night parties and hanging out after,” Dell said. “We have a theme for the ‘Gruesome’ party (this Friday): ‘F my Ex.’ People are encouraged to bring a token that an ex has given you to display – and do away with! – in our ‘museum of exes,’” she said, laughing.

Surely, we all have some gruesome injuries we’d like to exorcise from our past.

Kathleen Palmer can be reached at 594-6403 or kpalmer@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow her on Twitter (@Telegraph_KathP or
@NHFoodandFun).