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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 13. October 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 6, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1574.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1980). Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 13. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1574

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Page 13, October 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 6, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1574.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Item Description
Title Page 13
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File Name femin_201109_564k.jpg
Transcript Main Street's Rebecca Udden: "Audience development is our number one goal." ector at Ripley House, for example, is very pleased to report audiences of 60- 80 for the shows in Spanish there, and for the outstanding and favorably- reviewed Of Mice and Men houses of up to 150. "I travel a lot to other cities," says Mercado, "and there may be more small theaters in them, but they still have to scramble for an audience." His audience, Spanish-speaking, is somewhat built-in, says ivwcado, but success is never guaranteed. The theater people are ambitious and somewhat out front of their audiences' expectations. "We stretch our audiences' point of view," he says. "For example, last year we did Jardin de Otona which had these older women who fall in love with a TV soap opera hero, take him to their house to try to flirt with him and end up by ripping his clothes off and attacking him sexually. It did well, even though the audience is fairly traditional in taste." Jody Olbrych, executive director of the Equinox Theater, Washington near Montrose, is possibly the most optimistic of all the small theater executives. "Theater is breeding theater here," she says, "and there is increasing acceptance of modern theater in Houston, with two or three new companies and many Houston and Southwest premieres—it's healthy and it keeps us all on our toes." Equinox doubled its season subscribers in the past year and has just begun another innovative campaign: a pass book with five admissions good for any show, any person, any time, with a 20% discount from regular prices. Audience support is only one element in the Equinox success story. Arts council grants have subsidized more than half the ticket price of some shows. Olbrych once estimated that if sales alone met Equinox expenses, tickets would cost $25.00. The grants also allow innovative projects, such as the Equinox's importation of the young playwrights being performed, including last year David Mamet and Ntozake Shange, and next year, tentatively, John Guare (Landscape of the Body) and Robert Anton Wilson (the lllumi- natus Trilogy). Olbrych says, "We are going to do the whole llluminatus trilogy next summer—at the end of the run we are going to do a marathon, performing all three plays in one day. It will really blow people away—it's a science fantasy mixed with rock music and eroticism." The season for the Equinox will begin with Sam Shepard's Angel City, a play new to Houston, a bizarre allegory about Hollywood producer-directors. Across town, Main Street Theater ends its four years at Autry House and this winter plans to brighten up Rice University Village with a newly equipped theater designed by Chris Egan at 2450 Times Boulevard, that includes a large back area with rehearsal, shop and changing space. Sweat The incredible effort faced by Houston's small companies is recalled by Rebecca Udden, director of Main Street: "In a sense we have always been running in repertory, the format we will switch to in the Village—since we always shared our performance space at Autry House with church groups, we had to take our sets down every night and set them back up again for each performance." The group, as a consequence, developed a taste for jig-saw sets and lighter furnishings, but nonetheless it took uncommon women and others to get things ready for each show0 "I think there is a small group out there that go to all the plays in Houston. That small group has been growing, but it is not big enough. Audience development is our number one goal," says Udden. Those who do support theater here, she says, support it generously. As an example, John Worrell, chaplain at Autry House, not only helped develop a cooperative arrangement for performances at the church, he employed Udden, helped get the core group going in 1975, and even took the lead in one memorable production, The Confidential Clerk. Steve Garfinkle, one of the actors for Main Street, has done everything for the company including lifting chairs, cleaning, singing, trucking, taking a lead or a bit part, and even taking his lumps as the bound, gagged Schmerz, a punching bag for a whole demented family on stage. The quality is there, says Udden, "I have seen some great performances in Houston, in very small places. Oedipus, done in the basement of the Old Cotton Exchange building downtown, was a jewel, a stunning production, just dropped on us in the middle of one summer. At the Equinox the Ntozake Shange plays were really good—Bruce Bowen, the director, is fine, with very powerful, clean productions. In our Old Times, our last show, Charles Tanner gave the best performance I have ever seen him do—people really have grown here." Udden promises children's theater, actor training workshops, more support programs and performances next winter—and there is, she laughs, a plan for a Saturday night experimental theater series, with performances from the merely campy to the outright zany, starting somewhere around El Grande de Coca Cola and going on from there. Main Street is ready to kick off its choir robes. They Get Hooked Stages Theatre is the buried child of Houston theater. Ted Swindley, artistic director of Stages Theatre, in the bayou basement on Franklin near the Post Office, is also ready to unleash more avant-garde productions on Houston, but first of all, that familiar refrain: "We are in a very crucial audience development phase," reports Swindley. "The problem is the time-consuming process of having people find out about us. We're building a brand new audience. But, usually, once someone comes, they will come back to another production and bring someone with them." Like the other small theaters, Swindley says Stages doesn't do "easy pieces": "We have strong entertainment, plays that are confrontational in the sense that they deal with current ideas. Our opening comedy this fall will be Say Goodnight Grade, which has just been Stages artistic director Ted Swindley, ready to unleash more avant-garde productions in Houston. — OCTOBER 1980