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A quaint show at JPAC

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Greg Peck
March 25, 2013

I was intrigued enough by the idea of attending “The Glass Menagerie” after reading a letter to the editor about it Thursday that my wife and I ordered tickets to Saturday’s show. I knew nothing of the play at that point; I know a whole lot more about it now.

That’s because Stage One, a local theater group that’s experiencing a revival, put on the show and had Brian Duckwitz of the UW-Rock County English Department lead a pre-show discussion Saturday night. Cheryl and I attended the talk and got insight into Tennessee Williams and the play he wrote. We enjoyed the explanation and the show, which has just four live characters.

The show was at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, and instead of being in the usual large theater holding hundreds of seats, JPAC, Stage One and director Craig Bergum used a “black box” concept that used about half of the gallery room. About 100 comfortable chairs were set up on risers. The arrangement brought the audience much closer to the performers, and you could better see their expressions and emotions.

Stage One did cutting-edge shows from 1980-93, primarily at UW-Rock County, but hopes to offer more shows in the JPAC gallery and educate theater-goers with pre- or post-show discussions. These gallery shows might work well for groups that don’t draw large audiences.

I look forward to attending more such events. If you missed this one, you might want to watch for the announcement of Stage One's plans for an Irish play to run Oct. 10-20.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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