This month, Trustus Theatre is bringing Almost an Evening to the Trustus Black Box. This hilarious show is a collection of three one-acts by famed Oscar-winning screenwriter Ethan Coen of The Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou, and The Big Lebowski). The Trustus production is a unique theatrical event for Columbia theatre-goers where three directors will work with one cast to tell these three distinctive stories. Almost an Evening is part of Trustus' Late Night Series and runs in tandem with Avenue Q. The show opens tonight, June 20th at 7:30pm. The production continues through June 30th with Wednesday shows at 7:30pm, and Fridays and Saturdays at 11:15pm.
Almost an Evening consists of Waiting, Four Benches, and Debate. Trustus was happy to invite back many of the Black Box directors from this season to work on the show. Heather McCue, a NiA Company member who directed All This Intimacy earlier this year, joins the production team to direct Waiting. Trustus Company memberDaniel Bumgardner, who received critical acclaim for his direction of A Behanding in Spokane, comes back to the Black Box to direct Four Benches. Finally, Larry Hembree, incoming Executive Director and director of the Black Box season opener Third Finger, Left Hand, is bringing Debate to life.
Trustus assembled a well-known cast of Columbia talents to play multiple roles in this intimate, yet hilarious, evening. Popular actor and Trustus Company member Gerald Floyd joins the cast after recently winning The 14th Vista Queen Pageant. Trustus Company members Vicky Saye Henderson and Jason Stokes return after wrapping up a run of The Wild Party, in which they starred together. Trustus Company Member Robin Gottlieb returns to the Black Box after a respite since her performance in the critically acclaimed August: Osage County. Trustus alumni and director of the highly popular Plan 9 From Outer Space Shane Silman also returns to the Trustus stage. Finally, Kendrick Marion – known for his roles in Spring Awakening and Passing Strange – makes his Black Box debut.
The first one-act Waiting begins with a man named Nelson (Gerald Floyd) sitting in a waiting room with a testy receptionist (Vicky Saye Henderson). However, this is no ordinary waiting room. After various appointments with paper-pushers, Nelson begins to realize that he's waiting to get into Heaven or Hell – but which? His wait, which spans thousands of years, becomes the cause of great frustration as he anticipates the answers for which he's been searching.
In Four Benches a voyage to self-discovery takes a British intelligence agent (Kendrick Marion) to steam baths in New York and Texas, and to park benches in the U.S. and the U.K. Warning: there may be some male nudity.
The final show of the evening Debate opens on a new play happening somewhere off-off-off-off Broadway. "God Who Judges" (Shane Silman) spars with "God Who Loves" (Gerald Floyd) in the show. Post curtain, some audience members find themselves in the same restaurant as the actor who plays the judgmental deity. Without a doubt, chaos ensues.
Almost an Evening, an event full of characters and comedy, opens Wednesday, June 20th at 7:30pm and runs through Saturday, June 30th, 2011. Shows on Wednesdays start at 7:30pm, and Fridays & Saturdays at 11:15pm, following the Main Stage performances of Avenue Q. The doors and box office open thirty minutes prior to curtain, and all Black Box tickets are $15. Reservations can be made by calling the Trustus Box Office at (803) 254-9732.
Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady Street and on Pulaski Street. The Black Box Theatre entrance is through the glass doors on the Huger St. side of the building.
For more information or reservations call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732. Visit www.trustus.org for all show information and season info.
Photo credit: Jason Steelman