KOLT Run Creations announces first full season
Kelley Ogden and Lisa Thew were pleasantly surprised by Sacramento’s theatrical scene when they arrived here six years ago—and they promptly began to add their own flavor to the mix, starting up KOLT Run Creations.
Both earned their theatrical stripes in Chicago, where they worked at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. They’ve done work with a number of other local companies—Ogden has worked with Capital Stage, Big Idea Theatre and Main Street Theatre Works, while Thew has directed with Resurrection Theatre—and they’ve staged an average of one show per year as KOLT Run (garnering plenty of accolades, as well as Elly nominations).
But that quiet start is about to get louder with the first full season from the troupe, which has added some associate artists and is beginning the process of incorporating as a nonprofit.
“The way it’s been the last five years for us as a company has been about can we produce and can we produce quality,” Ogden told SN&R.
“And to find people to work with who share our vision,” added Thew.
Now that they have some experience; a list of successful productions that included an Elly-winning Crime & Punishment and the recent staging of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone; and associate artists Patrick Murphy, Kellie Yvonne Raines, Brian Rife and Nastassya Ferns, the plan is to expand to a full season of shows—including an original work.
“The shows we want to do really have to do with the dichotomy, or the intersection, if you will, of who we are as individuals and what is expected of us or how we are perceived in the greater community,” said Ogden. “That’s been a common theme in all of our shows, and it’s something that we really wanted to capture.”
Selecting shows started with reading potential scripts at their home for most of the summer. Both KOLT’s associate artists and other local artists participated; they’d gather, read, and then discuss the plays under consideration.
“Those perspectives have been very valuable,” said Thew. “The artists know whereof they speak.”
That collaborative process led to a 2012 season of four plays, which they’re calling “Revelation 2012.”
It’s a selection of intense plays that “focus on the stories of people who live on the fringes of society; people who are in the dark; people that you don’t see,” said Ogden. “Frequently, if we can empathize with people like them, we find out interesting things about ourselves.”
The season opens on February 3, with Where We’re Born by Lucy Thurber. This drama looks at the fallout when a local girl who went away to college comes back to the rural, working-class town she left behind. Sacramento actress Jessicah Neufeld has been cast in the lead.
Opening April 27, KOLT will give Rachel Axler’s Smudge its regional premiere. This is a very dark comedy—by an Emmy-winning writer for The Daily Show—about a couple whose plans to begin a family are derailed when they give birth to a baby that’s, uh, kinda weird.
“The baby is different in a lot of ways—developmentally, physically, psychically—it’s a very different baby,” said Ogden.
The third show, opening October 12 (pending rights), is Caryl Churchill’s Vinegar Tom, a feminist classic by the British playwright that includes original music. KOLT is planning to mix it up in this production by showcasing a different vocalist in each weekend’s performance.
Finally, the company has an original work in development. Church of the Gay Agenda is a tent revival/political satire/guerilla theater mash-up, and has its roots firmly planted in recent GLBT and religious issues. Staged as an audience-participation “church service,” it will feature the amazing Rev. Poppa Cherry, who will urge homophobes to repent and embrace the total gayness of organized religion.
Consider it a full-blown celebration of church and stage.
“We will make sure that our unsung heroes are getting their due,” said Thew.
Church of the Gay Agenda will be held in various locations throughout the area in an old-fashioned tent, just like any good revival, with an anticipated premiere during Coming Out Day festivities this October 11. The rest of the season’s shows will be produced in KOLT Run’s current home, the Ooley Theatre.