After leaving the board of Carpenter Square Theatre a year ago, Oklahoma City actor Todd Clark and actor/director Rodney Brazil were bombarded with the same question: “Will you start your own theater company?” “We had no plans to, but all the questions got us talking about it,” said Brazil. Inspiration struck when he read an article in The New Yorker about a chef who set up temporary restaurants for a few weeks at a time, each with a different menu and its own location.
“I thought it sounded really cool and would be an interesting spin for a performing arts group,” said Brazil. “I never want to turn down a good play because it’s wrong for the space. For each work we decide to produce, we’ll seek out the perfect space. If someone writes an amazing play that needs to be performed on a fishing boat, we’ll try to find a fishing boat.”
Up first for the fledgling Next Stage Theatre is a original piece titled “Fresh Meet,” written by Rebecca McCauley, Lisa Lasky, Robert Matson, Holly McNatt, Peter Young and Brazil, who is also directing.
right Sean Eckart and Dana Hanley
The play is comprised of a broad selection of humorous sketches that explore human connections through the phenomena of brief encounters. Their settings range from a typical office building to the afterlife.
“We thought a collaborative script would be a good idea for our debut,” said Brazil. “After the initial scenes were complete, we pieced them together into a full-length play and wrote a few new scenes to help tie things together a little more neatly.”
long-term plan for Next Stage is to to serve as a platform where
playwrights, actors, designers and artists from all media can share
their skill and perspective.
“All of our shows will come from local writers. That’s our only steadfast rule,” Brazil said.
By focusing on a diverse slate of projects, Next Stage hopes to cultivate an audience hungry for originality and variety.
“Our plan is to continue producing new works as long as there are people in Oklahoma City who want to see them,” said Brazil.