Beyond the Proscenium Productions (BPP) will not be producing its quirky style of theatre anymore in Sacramento. After a series of unfortunate occurrences, the board of directors has decided that BPP has already served its mission to enrich the cultural climate of Sacramento. Personal matters coupled with dwindling arts funding expected in the near future sealed the deal to close the tent.
“We have done much to encourage new talent in the region”, said BPP Board President Greg Chow. “We feel good that we have given many young actors, directors, playwrights and designers the opportunity to grow artistically and to gain experience.”
Founding artistic director Ann Tracy agrees with Chow saying that since she founded the company back in 1994, BPP has been at the forefront of contemporary theatre - staging many new world and regional premieres by authors who may not have had work produced in the area. However, the audiences for new work, especially dramatic work, has not always been there.
“I had two goals when I started BPP”, Tracy said, “one was to expand the styles of theatre produced in town and the other was to pay the actors and other artists at least a small stipend. Now we’ve got new theatre companies, that weren’t out there in ’94, staging provocative new works by up and coming playwrights.”
In 1996, BPP brought an original one-act performance piece called Dancing with Desire: A Poetic Fandango with the Erotic and the Bawdy, based on erotic poetry from ancient Sanskrit to modern Latina writers, to the 50th Anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. The balancing act between bringing new ideas in theatre and performance to Sacramento and keeping the doors open has always been a tricky one for BPP.
Some notable examples of world and regional premieres would be BPP’s productions of Reckless by Craig Lucas (’97), Hamlet ESP by Paul Baker (’98), Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (‘98) and Part Two: Perestroika (‘99), Orestes 2.5 - Tracy’s adaptation of Orestes (02), The Al Hamlet Summit by Sulayman Al-Bassam (06) and Symphony of Rats by Richard Foreman (08).
Tracy added that her personal life was becoming more hectic in helping to care for her 90-year old father-in-law and in the way her visual art career was becoming busier. She hopes to continue to direct for local theatre companies, as well as work in the Sacramento “indie” film scene.