The Repertory Project, a new independent theater group led by Emma Johnson '14 and Skylar Fox '15, will produce "Opus" by Michael Hollinger and "Speed-the-Plow" by David Mamet this February at the Production Workshop Upspace. Although Brown students are running the performances, the Repertory Project is not University-affiliated.
"It kind of started by accident," said Fox, who is directing "Speed-the-Plow." The students involved in the project have performed together at Brown in the past, and they informally talked about starting something new together. Eventually, their ideas snowballed into the formation of this group and the production of these plays, Fox said.
The fact that the group is not affiliated with the University comes at a price — namely, the price of royalties, sets, costumes and props. With no University funding, they are relying entirely on donations to raise money for these "bare minimum needs," which add up to $1,500, according to the project's website. They are offering prizes to contributors based on the value of their donations. For example, individuals who give $25 will see their names on the set of one of the plays and receive two front-row tickets. Those who donate $100 will get cake and the opportunity to touch one of the main performers' abs, according to the website.
The group remains optimistic despite the steep cost, said Johnson, who is directing "Opus." The group received a significant amount of support, she added.
Although being a registered University group would ease the group's money concerns, there are benefits to independence. Johnson said starting a group of her own gave her the opportunity to try directing a play, a first-time experience, without the pressure of "risking anyone else's reputation." After this experience, she said, she will feel more comfortable and qualified to direct for someone else.
Fox and Johnson also noted that the experience of working on this play is unique due to the focus on collaboration. Since there is no tech team, just the directing duo and the actors, technical responsibilities fall on everyone's shoulders.
"Actors are more aware of the production side," Johnson said, and work together produce each other's plays.
This theme of collaboration also serves as the theme for the company's production season. Both "Speed-the-Plow" and "Opus" demonstrate the importance of collaboration.
"We hope to start a conversation in the community about the joys and challenges of collaboration in each of our lives, and what it means to work with others toward a single goal," according to the company's website.
"Speed-the-Plow" and "Opus" performances will be taking place Feb. 1-4.