Old faces, new places


They have done it in a furniture store, an art gallery, an abandoned train station, on a city bus, and, as you might expect, in a number of local bars. Offstage Theater, a group of local actors, directors, playwrights, and techies, has not been shy about fulfilling their mission, as expressed by the three local playwrights who founded the company in 1989: "go forth and produce original dramatic work in atypical settings." 

Barhoppers 2002 continues the group's winter tradition of transforming local drinking spots into theatrical venues. It's an evening of five short plays written by local playwrights, and a series of comical monologues inspired by personal ads from a certain local paper. Here's what some of the directors and writers have to say about the line-up of shows. 

Bill Rough, director for "Betting on Serenity," by Lucinda McDermott: "Two sisters contemplate an intervention for their alcoholic younger sister. She has been destroying her own life with alcohol and the lives of those around her. Ironically, though, the important decisions of the 'responsible' members of the family are made over a much-needed drink."

Brad Stoller, writer of "Get Real": "A couple searches for reality in their relationship and in world around them. Their eccentric waiter tries to give them what they want, but as in life, they create our own reality."

Joel Jones, writer of "The Crossing": "'The Crossing' is a bartender’s monologue. It is the story of a drive to Florida, an experience at a Waffle House in South Carolina, and a train."

Doug Grissom, director of "The Personals": "'The Personals' features short monologues inspired by real personal ads from a real local paper. Nine people try valiantly to make a love connection."

There is likely to be a little something for almost any taste. And, of course, a selection of beverages and bar nibbles is always at the disposal of barhoppers.

In the last couple of years, Offstage has renewed its commitment to providing an alternative to traditionally staged theater and, in keeping with that commitment, they recently found themselves a home in the McGuffey Art Center, Charlottesville's premier arts cooperative. Their studio is open to the public several days each week for script submissions, reading, writing, and rehearsals. If you go over, you can find them in the red building off the McGuffey parking lot.

They are currently accepting submissions for one-act plays and one-act or full-length musicals, with plans for another production in the near future. Watch for announcements of read-throughs and reading workshops. Or, if you have a space where you think you may want to see one of their shows produced, show up at their door and say so. You'll find them a friendly bunch, open to new ideas, new venues, and new faces. 


Barhoppers performs three more nights at Rapture on the Downtown Mall: Sunday-Tuesday, March 3-5. (Sunday is non-smoking.) All shows start at 7:30pm. $6 tickets are available at the door only. Go early to get a good seat. $6 at the door. 244-8432 or offstagetheatre@hotmail.com.

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