VIDEO: House Party Theatre Reimagines Plays Off the Stage
That That Gallery set the scene for True West.
The theater can be a stuffy place. For that matter, a museum can be too. But across art forms, there is a movement toward something more authentic –something more raw. Certainly this DIY aesthetic isn't new, but it's gripping the young artists in Dallas in an unrelenting chokehold. And we're not here to complain. What the arts district can't do is send you knee-deep into new neighborhoods or the homes of strangers. It's planted firmly in the cement, and that just won't do for the young actors running House Party Theatre, vagabonds that they are.
We've been following them around the city lately and loving every second of it. Earlier this year, we circled in on Brigham Mosley's Vultures at Basement Gallery, then we popped over to a small mansion to see Claire Carson's Michelle with Wet Eyeballs – both engaging, boundary-pushing new works. Last week, we climbed up the stairs into That That Gallery to see True West, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard. Is it the first time we've seen this play? No. But it's the first time we've seen it quite like this.
In some shows, the actors break down the fourth wall, emerging from or disappearing into the audience. But in every show they're breaking down an ignored fifth wall: the hoity toity barrier of entry that manifests in overpriced tickets or pretension to quality. With House Party Theatre and the generation of young professional theater artists that surround this group, they're not afraid to show you their struggle with the art. You're there, in the ring with them, watching them wrestle with theater up close and personal.
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