A young Cincinnati theater company, The Sartori Group, offered several productions during 2007 including iLove, a Fringe Festival show that was named the Producers' "Pick of the Fringe" and garnered a Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination for best alternative production. After splitting from New Stage Collective, another newish theater company, over artistic differences, Satori's 11 actors (many are grads and current students at UC's College-Conservatory of Music) and directors presented three more experimental productions: Hello Again, Never Swim Alone and The Investigation of the Murder in El Salvador. With the new year, several Satori members are relocating themselves and their company to Seattle, joining an advance guard who moved during the fall. Anthony Darnell, Satori's co-founding artistic director, says many of them will miss Cincinnati. But he and others have been inspired by Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company, whose tagline is "What is theatre without a net?" Darnell and his colleagues believe they'll be taking greater risks by moving to another city. I could argue that it's riskier to work in a town where theater experiments are largely ignored rather than a place like Seattle where they're embraced, but Darnell says, "We may fail, we may succeed, we may fail and get back up, or we may fail, fall down and never get back up. But at least we're going to try." I'm glad to report that Satori has applied to produce a show during the 2008 Cincinnati Fringe, and Darnell says they intend to come back in 2008 or 2009 to present a show at The Carnegie in Covington, the venue for their last two shows. Darnell remains in town until June, working for Know Theatre as box office manager and a resident artist.
Not all our young actors and directors are leaving town: New Edgecliff Theatre will showcase some of them during its second annual Cincinnati Directors Competition (March 6-9) at the Performance Gallery (3900 Eastern Ave., East End). It's a chance for young theater artists to showcase their work before artistic directors of local theaters, who serve as judges. Organizer Nathan Gabriel says, "The goal of this event is to give exposure to new directors and actors, which will give talented artists a reason to stay in Cincinnati." Works need to be 30 minutes or less; several will be presented and voted on by judges and audience members on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On March 9, each nightly winner will be presented again for a final ranking; first place receives $500 and second place $250. Last year's event was a surprise hit. Interested directors can learn more at www.directorscompetiton.com; application deadline is Feb. 1. ...
After seven years of presenting alteractive, a series of touring cutting-edge theater productions, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has pulled the plug. When "alteractive" began, there was no Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which offers similar (although often less professional) avant-garde material.
CONTACT RICK PENDER: [email protected]