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Quantum Theatre goes for quality over quantity

| Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Quantum Theatre artistic director Karla Boos doesn't measure growth in expanded seasons and more productions.

"For me, growth is about deeper, better, more ambitious projects," Boos says.

So the 2004-05 Quantum Theatre season that begins June 3 with Shakespeare's "Richard II" will have only three fully staged productions, a decrease in quantity from the four-play seasons offered in recent years.

"Is Quantum shrinking• No. Our budget and capabilities are growing," she says.

Boos chose to limit Quantum to three projects to concentrate more time and thought on each one.

A major consideration was Boos' resolve to have Quantum collaborate with Dan Jemmett on the English-language world premiere of "Dog Face," Jemmett's contemporary adaptation of Thomas Middleton's play "The Changeling," that has played at Paris' Theatre de la Ville and Peter Brook's Theatre des Bouffes du Nord.

Although not well known in this country, Jemmett has developed respect as a renegade artist in Europe.

"Dog Face" is a play about a motley crew of actors who are performing Middleton's 17th-century revenge tragedy. They yearn to return to their trailer park origins. "I think it belongs in America," Boos says.

Jemmett and other artists will come to Pittsburgh in November to work with Quantum artists on the translation that Jemmett is creating and investigate potential performance sites. Jemmett will return to Paris, where he will finish work on the script, then return in February to begin work on the fully staged production. Boos believes audience growth and interest in "Dog Face" will sustain the longer run.

"Bigger works seem to attract more people," Boos says.

She's not just thinking about "Dog Face" but "Richard II."

"Shakespeare is always a big seller for Quantum," Boos says. She'll serve as director for this play, which she calls "Shakespeare's great rumination on power, the change of power and the rights and responsibilities of leaders."

She's enthusiastic about using the South Side's MacHemp Building, whose dirt floor will allow the cast to follow Richard II's desire to "write sorrow upon the bosom of the earth."

Also planned for the summer is Sam Shepard and JosephChaiken's "When the World Was Green," which will run in the outdoor garden at the Mattress Factory on the North Side. Additional Information:

Details

Quantum Theatre's 2004-05 season

'Richard II': June 3 - 27, The MacHemp Building, Ninth and Bingham Streets, South Side

'When the World Was Green': Aug. 5-29, Mattress Factory Garden, 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side.

'Dog Face': Workshop performance for subscribers Nov. 11 and 12. Production March 10- April 3, 2005, locations to be announced.

Season subscriptions are $75. In addition to tickets to the season's three staged plays, subscribers will receive invitations to the 'Dog Face' workshop and a party in November. Single tickets go on sale May 15.

Details: (412) 394-3353 or www.quantumtheatre.com

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