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The Spot Launches The Garage
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Abby Rosebrock is The Spot’s inaugural artist-in-residence. PHOTO: Molly Hagan
   
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

In 2014 a group of young creatives converted a glorified garage in Ketchum’s light industrial district into a small, intimate theater. They debuted the first of a long lineup of though- provoking plays as they staged “Next to Normal,” a rock musical centering on the effects a mother’s bipolar disorder has on her family.

And they created a space for young people in the Wood River Valley to learn how to express themselves in Spot Young Company, which has pulled off some ambitious theater projects, including ”Alice By Heart.“

Now, The Spot theater company is taking the next step in its evolution as it introduces The Garage: Artist’s Incubator, a place for early-career theater artists and playwrights to develop work.

It’s launching it with Abby Rosebrock, a Brooklyn playwright who wrote “Dido of Idaho,” a play about a lovelorn musicologist who pulls off some romantic hijinks risking losing the only family she’s ever had. The Spot staged it in 2017 in what was the play’s western premiere.

“We have had so much support over the last 10 years to create our work that we wanted to build a program that gives that kind of support–in the form of resources, space and time–to other artists,” said Natalie Battistone, who is directing the play reading.

The Spot has several events lined up during Rosebrock’s residency, including a free playwriting workshop. But the highlight is a rehearsed reading of her new play “Wilma” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22. The reading will include a conversation between The Community Library’s Director of Programs Martha Williams and Rosebrock.

“Each season we have supported or produced new works and shared our space with other artists to experiment or create in,” said Battistone. “We wanted to formalize this commitment to new work and emerging theater artists. While garages may not seem prepossessing, the no-frills environment lends itself to freedom of expression. There are no judgments cast in a garage--it's a safe place to explore and create.”

Rosebrock’s “Wilma” is a dark comedy revolving around a distressed mother and her 12-year-old daughter who are trapped with one another and their radioactive secrets during a flood in South Carolina in 1999.

They joke with a Punch-and-Judy rapport, but Wilma vacillates between smothering her daughter with the prevailing anxieties of the 1990s that includes a hearty dose of political vitriol around the Clintons and for-profit health care.

Tally, meanwhile, is overwhelmed with the challenges of being a girl in America, specifically South Carolina.

The cast, directed by Battistone, features Rachel Aanestad, Gertie Pitts and Julia Ott. Tickets are free, available at https://ci.ovationtix.com/35975/production/1200893.

Originally commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club, “Wilma” is the first play in Rosebrock’s “Good Girl Trilogy,” which she is developing during The Garage residency.

Rosebrock said the inspiration for the play came from a memory of watching the news with her mother when she herself was 12.

“She was equal parts dazzled and disturbed by an interview with Christina Aguilera, who was 18,” she recounted. “It was one of the strangest and most important conversations I've ever had. So, I set that moment down in words and then built the story out from there, using mostly real memories mashed up into a real-time narrative that Tally is sort of doomed to keep playing out in her subsequent life until she breaks out of it."

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