Mission Statement and Goals
“The Company of Strangers Theater is dedicated to providing quality theatrical productions that reflect the essential aspects of life from a philosophical and theological perspective. We encourage our cast, crew, and audience members of all religions to ask the hard questions about the nature of man’s depravity, the need for a perfect ethical standard, and the consequences of our choices. While not an “evangelical” organization with a mission to win converts, The Company ever brings to light that only Christ and His Law serves as a satisfactory answer to our broken society. The truth of God’s Word can be seen everywhere – not merely in “clear cut Christian messages” – and the Company desires to manifest that truth through the art of theater, thereby reclaiming the purpose of storytelling on stage.”
We try hard to keep the audience fully aware of what is going on behind-the-scenes…and we aren’t just talking about teaser trailers. An actor is struggling with lines – we are having trouble overcoming a tech problem – we can’t find a special prop piece – we overcame an obstacle – it’s ALL out there!
This helps actors relax during the rough parts of rehearsal. If they are relieved of having to keep up a facade of perfection, the actors can keep their focus on what truly matters during a production, which is doing their best to tell a great story, NOT to prove anything about themselves.
It also helps the audience learn what goes into making a show possible, which allows them to gain a better appreciation for theater. This helps remove “art elitism” – i.e. art is better when it is obscure and unclear, leaving the audience to awe at the art simply because they don’t understand it. If art does not deliver a message, there is no real profit to viewing it. Part of appreciating this message is in understanding how much work it took to creating it.
Finally, if the audience knows the struggles we’ve faced along the way, they are more inclined to be what I call “on our side.” They can root for the actors to succeed as if they were friends instead of seeing a mistake or hiccup and immediately write the play off as being unprofessional. We are all fallible human beings, and no one is better or worse because of the platform they stand on.
The theater world somehow breeds a toxic environment of gossip. One actor doesn’t like another actor, or actors have issues with the director or stage manager…and the last ones to know about it are the people the complaints are about. A sense of entitlement and pride gets in the way of being open with each other. The actors forget that their acting should be kept to the stage, not with each other as they ‘act’ like everything is OK. This is not only unhelpful for theater in particular, where the performance hinges upon good relationships, but this is a sin that displeases God.
Honesty is a hard mission to accomplish. Sometimes pursuing honesty breeds embarrassment or denial, but the final results strengthen reliationship. Honesty always works out better in the end, and apologies for miscommuncation and tempers go a long way.
People MUST be responsible to do theater – show up on time, practice lines, etc. But with the way The Company rehearsals run, the show won’t just be less than amazing if actors choose to be lazy – the show will actually FAIL or NOT TAKE PLACE.
Our rehearsals are few and far between compared to other theater companies. These rehearsals focus primarily on character development and blocking. They DO NOT help you memorize lines, which is often what many rehearsals a week accomplish through its repetition. A show with The Company can happen after as few as 15 on-location rehearsals from start to finish in some cases. It’s up to YOU to meet with the other actors for line runs, record your lines and listen to them in the car, or do whatever it takes for you to get those lines in your head. You WILL be given lines at least a month before the first day of rehearsals to get a jump on memorizing, but once we start meeting, THINGS MOVE FAST!
Although fewer rehearsals might seem like a negative, the positives are that even the busiest theater enthusiast has the opportunity to be in a show, which in turn allows more people to participate in the opportunity. It also lets actors set their own schedule for memorization, which eliminates social pressure. With less stress, the chances of good chemistry and patience are heightened. Furthermore, self-initiation is an important character trait to have in many other aspects of life, and practicing it with theater is easier than having to master it when you are faced with other important life responsibilities.