Theater is Dead

Paul Sills, improvisational theater pioneer and the founder director of Chicago’s famous Second City, was once quoted as saying, “Theater is dead. You guys just don’t know it yet.” Whether or not the Evergreen Players know it yet is up for debate, but they’re taking Sills’s experimental techniques to heart with Paul Sills’ Story Theatre, a collection of vignettes that uses the word “theatre” in the most stripped-down sense of the word.

The ten sketches are based on Aesop’s Fables and Grimm Brothers fairy tales, updated with social commentary and incorporating improvisation, comedy and a minimalist production style. “The set is really bare,” says director Meridith Crosley Grundei. “Not a lot of props, not a lot of costumes. So, for example, there are animals in a lot of the sketches. There might be a puppet to represent the animal, or the actor might become the animal” as a shadow behind a screen. It’s essentially theater that places the focus squarely on the actors — no special effects, no glitzy set pieces, no frills.

The show starts its run tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive in Evergreen, and continues through January 30 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 2 p.m. Sundays. To buy tickets, $14 to $18, or for more information, call 303-674-4934 or visit www.evergreenplayers.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 14. Continues through Jan. 30, 2011

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Jeff Otte