Actors have been spending every weeknight at a new near-eastside
theater space, rehearsing on alternate evenings for two different plays that
will open simultaneously next week.
Indianapolis's newest professional regional theater, Khaos Theatre Company, is doubling up
while looking to build an audience -- and fast. The burgeoning acting troupe
will begin its inaugural 2015 season with two shows -- Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde and Eugene O'Neill's Thirst -- that will run on
consecutive weekends between Feb. 6 and March 14. The plays are thematically
paired because they both "question the morals of mankind." The idea is that a
theatergoer can come two weeks in a row and see something new Artistic Director Kaylee
Spivey Good says.
click to enlarge
Allyson Womack as "Sweet Young Miss" (left) and Tyler Gordon as "The Poet" (right) during a rehearsal for the upcoming La Ronde.
Good started the group last June with a production of
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night to provide
professional theater experience to emerging artists who aren't yet unionized,
but who are on track to becoming so. She founded Khaos
partly because limited opportunities existed in Central Indiana, outside
community theaters for recent graduates of Indiana University, Butler
University, the University of Indianapolis and other schools. She's concerned
that talented theater grads are forced to leave Indianapolis altogether to
pursue roles in other markets.
"Local colleges are turning out very talented actors and playwrights
and directors," Good says. "But it's problematic because there's not a lot of
union work they qualify for so they can have
professional-paying jobs that would let them work full-time in theater. We hope
to broaden those opportunities."
Khaos is named after a play Good wrote about racial
conflict in Athens for her senior thesis, after visiting Greece as an exchange
student. She helped establish the new theater group in the near-eastside Rivoli Park Neighborhood
on E. 10th Street in the Cliffords Corner
building near the historic Rivoli Theatre, which is
in the middle of a massive renovation project -- one that Khaos
would be interested in eventually performing in.
While the small startup theater company is not directly involved
in efforts to renovate the deteriorated movie palace, Khaos
generally hopes to restore the surrounding neighborhood.
"We support emerging artists in the theater, whether actors or
playwrights or directors," she says. "We want to bring more people into the Rivoli Park neighborhood, to see how wonderful it is."
The 60-seat theater Khaos currently
occupies is set up in a theatre-in-the-round arrangement that will allow actors
to perform in seats next to audience members, but it's a flexible space that
can be changed for each performance.
Khaos Theatre Company is committed to
accessibility, particularly of the surrounding neighborhood. There will be a
pay-what-you-want charge for all Thirst performances at the door, as well as
a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for La Ronde on
Valentine's Day and a pay-what-you-want-night on Feb. 28.
The 2015 season includes Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding, a
summer Shakespeare in the Park series in an urban setting and the 2015 Dionysia New Play Competition to give aspiring Indianapolis
playwrights an opportunity to stage their work.
Courtesy of Kaylee Spivey Good
Tyler Gordon as "Sir Toby Belch" (left), "Anthony Nathan" Malvolio (Right) while rehearsing for Twelfth Night.
"There's a lot of talent in the local theater scene," Good says.
"We're growing our actors' pool more and more with each new production."
A goal is to help revitalize the East 10th Street
neighborhood, which Good says could one day be as culturally vibrant as Mass
Ave or Fountain Square. The company has been working with the East Tenth Street Civic
Association and wants to place a spotlight on the underutilized
Liberty Plaza across from its home base of Clifford Commons by staging its
summer Shakespeare in the Park production there. The Bard could be appreciated
against a more urban backdrop, according to Good.
"It's an absolutely beautiful neighborhood," she says. "It's one
of the few places in Indianapolis that's dominated with 1950s architecture. There
are more and more businesses doing great things, like the Tick Tock Longue or
Audrey's Place furniture. It's lesser known but has
the potential to be wonderful."
Joseph S. Pete is a Peter Lisagor and Hoosier State Press Association award-winning journalist who has been known to hang around museums and make the rounds on First Fridays. His literary work has appeared in Flying Island, Punchnel's and elsewhere. He has no known aliases.