In Remember Rudy, the latest original production from Dallas' Ochre House Theater, the self-described "alternative theater" asks audiences some intriguing questions. "Do you believe in ghosts?" reads the musical's promotional materials. "Do we create our ghosts? Or do our ghosts create us?"
Set to make its premiere on Saturday, Remember Rudy was written and directed by Ochre House company member Carla Parker. It tells the story of fictional child Rudolph Raeburn, played by actor Kevin Grammer. According to Parker, Remember Rudy is really about “the sins and misbehaviors we all face ... regrets in relationships, careers, money and the memories that surface in guilt.”
Some parallels exist between Parker’s own favorite child star, Danny Bonaduce, and the fictional Raeburn. Bonaduce played the redheaded middle child in the '70s TV sitcom The Partridge Family. When that series ended, Bonaduce had a few arrests and a stint as a pro wrestler. Parker’s fictional TV icon Raeburn falls on hard times after his long-running series, The Ghosts of Saratoga, ends and he has a string of failed movies and a scandalous Playgirl spread.
Parker explains that Raeburn faces a choice that’s summed up by this line from the show, “Drown your sorrows or face your ghosts. You live with yourself, first and foremost.”
Grammer, Ochre House's associate producer, plays Raeburn and designed the lighting for the show. He has been with Ochre House since its inception more than 10 years ago, has performed in 25 shows, and written and directed 10.
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Remember Rudy unfolds over the course of an hour and 20 minutes in what Parker calls “a musical in the style of the alternative theater movement.” All music is original and will be performed by four musicians playing percussion, keyboards, cello and guitar. Parker promises that there will be tears, laughter and puppets.
In 2008, Matthew Posey started Ochre House Theater, the 50-seat "alternative theater" near Fair Park. Posey, who serves as artistic director, describes alternative theater as a “commitment to small scale, original theater, taking inspiration from fringe productions that are unconventional and experimental in nature.”
All Ochre House work is completely new and either written by Posey himself or members of the company. They often use puppets. Early on, Posey became interested in using puppets in the company’s productions because of their spectacle and theatricality. Says Posey, “They’re so versatile and free the imagination.”
Remember Rudy's world premiere will run through May 11.