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Garage Guerrilla Theater on Main Street

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, June 26, 2009, at 05:00PM
Devon Armstrong Ed Fuentes

Devon Armstrong sits on the floor of the Main street garage space that his Downtown Repertory Theater Company is now using for a performance.

There is nothing conventional about the new residency space the Downtown Repertory Theater Company has taken up on Main street, but founder and Artistic Director Devon Armstrong is thrilled with the group's new home.

The troupe has set up shop on the sixth floor of the Old Bank District Garage. Armstrong says that it is the right setting for the style of theater the young ensemble wants to produce: dark and unsettling theatre that's still affordable, and as he tagged it, "worth a trip across the street."

With no proscenium arch, curtains or lighting grid, the garage floor will becomes an alternative space that's both versatile and foreboding. Outside noise of sirens instantly become sound effects, and borrowed bleachers will stand in a corner to make the garage floor "stage" front a backdrop of concerte with long perspective.

The guerrilla theater expenses of playwrights and insurance are funded by Armstrong himself, who works at Warner Brothers selling tickets for tours. Everything else is donated, and for now the ensemble is made of actors he knows. "Most of them are former Los Angeles County High School of the Art graduates," he said. "They are coming back to do summer stock."

"This is our space, for now, and on the 6th floor of a parking lot, we can use even use cars or ride bikes."

They open their inaugural season tonight, with the first of three plays the company felt would work in a parking structure that echos isolation and alienation. First up is Max Frisch’s "The Firebugs," a work that Armstrong said was written specifically about the Nazi rise to power and remains "pertinent in today’s political climate."

The Downtown Repertory Theater Company presents Max Frisch’s "The Firebugs" / 425 S Main St., 6th Floor, Parking Structure / June 26 - July 11 / 7:30pm / $10

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