BY JEAN RUZICKA
Driven by a “passion” for the stage, a trio of actors- directors has set their sights on making Park Rapids “theater central,” a Red Compass directing their mission.
Executive director David Overly, production manager Audra Hill and artistic director Mark Carter have formed the Red Compass Theatre Company in Park Rapids, their premiere production, “The Tolstoy Story Play,” to open Thursday, June 20 at Faithbridge Church.
Gourmet desserts will entice the audience who will digest “Tolstoy’s timeless tales reimagined in a black box theater format.”
The one-act performance is inspired by Tolstoy’s telling of Russian folk tales a century ago. The award-winning story is a celebration of the “glory of story in a style at once primitive and sophisticated.”
A multigenerational cast will introduce the family-appropriate theme that purports each person’s life is a complex, interwoven series of stories.
The decision to form the company was driven by an ardor for performing as well as a hope to teach and coach budding actors and actresses.
They plan to travel to other venues to introduce their “broad backgrounds” in theatrical experience.
“The economy stinks. What’s most likely to fail?” Carter asked sardonically of theater. “But what’s most fulfilling?” the former Martin Carter apprentice asked rhetorically.
“This area is rich in theater,” he said. The Red Compass will not be in competition, but augment what’s in existence, Carter said.
“Theater is a powerful medium. It provides a mirror of what’s true and good and beautiful,” Carter said. Live theater affords an “intimacy.” It gives an audience “permission to be honest with themselves.”
The name, Red Compass, arouses curiosity, they agree. The decision came from their roles as directors who need “compasses – with spice.”
“Ultimately, it was one we could agree on,” Carter said, grinning.
Plans call for a children’s theater - to show kids the “focus of acting, to create magic before their eyes” - and Shakespeare in the Park performances.
Meanwhile, the Tolstoy cast takes the stage in 7 p.m. performances Thursday through Sunday, June 20-22 at Faithbridge Church, Highway 71 South.
The cast includes Overly, Victoria Campbell, Bruce Wilmot, Katrielle Guida, Danielle Hill and Ezra Overly.
Tickets may be purchased at Beagle Books or by calling 612-760-0402.
For more info, go to www.redcompasstheatre.com.