Self produced and self shaped theatre is very much a living, breathing entity clamoring under rug swept by the glitz and sparkle of Broadway. But its there. You just have to find it. Theatre makers are taking the industry into their own hands, arthritic from self promotion on any and every social media medium, and shaping their fates. I know, I know, easier said then done. And beyond that? Easier said then done WELL.
You know who does it well? The NOW Collective- a new group of graduate apprentices from The Barrow Group. Their mission is to provide a collaborative environment for emerging artists like themselves to get stoked and work on new pieces together. And if their current show, Apartment Complex, is any indicator as to the work we can expect from this group, I anticipate a bright future ahead.
Apartment Complex is a series of shorts by various playwrights and actors within the group about, you guessed it; the trials, tribulations and absolute thrills of living in one of the best cities in the entire world. And what a smart move that was for this fledgling company. Their first big show off the bat was material that invites an audience in, almost as if they too were a part of the ensemble, because as people of New York, we could identify with it ALL.
The evening truly got kicked off when actress/playwright Sam Evans found a bedbug on her sweater, which hilariously segued into a performance art piece where the actress, in a garbage bag and rain boots, destroyed everything in her apartment. Evans was absolutely captivating and had the audience convulsing in their laughter. A highlight of the evening for sure.
Next up is Adrian Burke, an extremely talented gentleman we need to be tracking. He had two plays up in the night, one of which Burke himself was in, and not only were they really frigging funny, they were poignant and satiated the audience on a different level. Hallways was particularly brilliant. It was a two man bit satirizing how we grieve and how we are allowed to grieve in our current climate. These points were punctuated perfectly and with care by actors Andrew Dobbie and Morgan Bartholick.
Sean T McGrath’s Dinner Party was also very well received within the audience. Dinner Party took us on an emotional rollercoaster, even in such a brief amount of time, which is super admirable. Kasey Lee Huizinga was heartbreaking in her pursuits of trying to maintain homeostasis in financial insecurity, a feeling we all know far too well.
Catch this show in it’s last weekend at The Barrow Group Studio Theatre over on 36th. In this current political climate, we all need a friggin laugh…and more importantly, support the arts. Don’t allow them to get evicted from their homes.
Review: Brittany Goodwin
Photos: Kyle LeMaire Photography