New Theatre Company may have lost a terrific space with the closing of the Theatre on Elm Street, but they got a helluva consolation prize: the almost-black box space called Theatre Too in the basement of Jac Alder's Theatre Three in the Quadrangle. New Theatre's artistic director, Bruce Coleman, admits: "Since we moved into the Quadrangle, we've tripled our season subscribers. And I can't say enough how Jac Alder and Thurman Moss have supported us in this process. Eventually, they will add state-of-the-art sound and light equipment and make this an affordable, exciting space for small theater."
But the first change in transforming Theatre Too was the most necessary, as anyone who has ever suffered through a Friday- or Saturday-night performance there while live music from the 8.0's courtyard above bled into the actors' dialogue: soundproofing. By the time you read this, Theatre Too will be protected from 99.9% of outside sound.
Sound purity will be essential for grooving on New Theatre's Southwest premiere of John Patrick Shanley's Psycopathia Sexualis. Shanley is the sometimes verbose comic playwright who makes balloon animals out of religious and psychological neuroses. In Psycopathia Sexualis, he twists into all kinds of shapes one poor New Yorker (Donald Fowler) who discovers, on the eve of his marriage to a fun-lovin' Texas gal (Charlotte Akin Jorgensen), that he can't perform horizontally unless he's wearing his father's argyle socks. He enlists the aid of a sadistic psychiatrist named Dr. Block (Dennis Millegan) to cure him of the fetish.
As far as New Theatre Company premiering Psycopathia Sexualis in Theatre Too, Bruce Coleman adds, "Back when I started working at Theatre Three in 1986, Jac Alder talked about turning this space into a viable second space for intimate theater. So I feel like we've come full circle. From the response we've gotten, it's a space people enjoy coming to. After all, there are many great restaurants in the Quadrangle."
Coleman stops himself. "I sound like the tourist bureau, don't I?"
Psycopathia Sexualis' regular run begins Friday, March 27. Shows are at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at Theatre Too, 2800 Routh St. Call (214) 871-3300.