TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Theater begins new era in Carnegie with 'The Other Place'

About Dan Stefano

Daily Photo Galleries

Carlynton Photo Galleries


By Dan Stefano

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Virginia Wall Gruenert laughs and swears it's just a coincidence, discussing the title of Off the Wall theater's upcoming play.

After all, the show is called “The Other Place.” Carnegie is simply the new place.

“I had to have somebody point that out to me,” said Gruenert, the company's artistic director. “I did not do that on purpose, because I chose this play long before we decided to move.”

No matter the name on the program, when the lights come on Friday night inside the 96-seat venue along West Main Street, it will mark a new era for the provocative theater and add yet another piece to Carnegie's growing arts scene.

Wishing to be closer to the bulk of their supporters and actors, Gruenert and her husband, managing director Hans Gruenert, moved their five-year-old theater from Washington this spring.

“We have a very hardcore group of loyal patrons from Washington. It's a small group, but they're there,” Gruenert said.

“The larger percentage is from Pittsburgh and understands that theater is supposed to educate and enlighten and open people's eyes. That's what we try to do.”

An empty office space previously occupied by WorkWell Inc., was the right size and location for Off the Wall's new start. And the community is getting just as much value from the recently finished $150,000 facility.

“We're not just a theater; we're a performing arts center,” Gruenert said. “We've already made our space available to rent to other companies that don't have a home . . . dance companies, we have a comedian coming in one night, musicians.

“We're a 365-day theater.”

One that's rare around these parts.

The name Off the Wall is more than just a play on Gruenert's maiden name. It speaks to the mature, often-risqué themes the small company often highlights.

“My choices are dangerous, actually,” she said. “I choose plays that have something to say, that are relevant, that are theatrical, exciting, interesting, thought-provoking, that hit you over the head sometimes. ... That's not to say we don't do comedies, but even the comedies I choose are edgy.”

“The Other Place,” which begins a 10-show run at 8 p.m. Friday through Oct. 27, fits the bill as an Off the Wall production. The drama explores the fragility of the mind and reality, featuring a scientist-turned-businesswoman's disorienting descent into dementia.

“This is a play that speaks to us in our time and in an important way,” said Mark Conway Thompson, who plays the main character's husband, Ian.

A Pittsburgh resident who teaches drama at Duquesne, he's happy to see Off the Way closer to home. He said others are, too.

“I had been to plays but not had the occasion to work with the company,” Thompson said. “The buzz from actors who have been here before is, ‘That's a place where you want to work. They know how to host a production.

“Everyone in the theater community has high hopes that this theater will be well attended because of its proximity to the city.”

Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dstefano@tribweb.com or 412-388-5816.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
  2. 4 dead in Armstrong County crash
  3. Physical Columbus team is a hit in playoff opener against Penguins
  4. Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus
  5. Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
  6. Veteran North Huntingdon police officer fired
  7. Play of the game: Sutter’s goal completes rally
  8. Highmark vs. UPMC: Stop frightening seniors
  9. Retired postal worker picks $1M winner
  10. Pirates notebook: Walker’s razor a right-handed swing solution
  11. Police see no sign Franklin Regional stabbing suspect was bullied
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.