Big Apple Circus
Back in 1992, Steve Moore moved to Austin from Chicago and, with a couple of friends from college, founded Physical Plant Theater. Since then, Physical Plant has produced some of the most memorable theatre in Central Texas, such as Anna Bella Eema, The Kindermann Depiction, and, most recently, Not Clown, an impressive, darkly comedic take on violence, bigotry, and paranoia first produced at the Off Center in the fall of 2004. Of the three founders, only Moore remained in the area. Another, Daniel Aukin, moved to New York, where he now is artistic director at Soho Rep. Aukin has invited his old friend to bring Not Clown to the East Coast for a two-week run, thus making Physical Plant the latest in a fairly long line of Austin companies to get a run in the big city.
"I don't know if I've ever felt like a play was done after the first production," says Moore of revisiting Not Clown. "Even after weeks of rehearsal, you don't see the flaws, but you can see them after a couple of weeks of performance. They start to stand out in relief, and when all the smoke cleared and the production was finished, I was excited to come back, even just for myself, to see if I could try to figure out how to fix it. Once we got offered the slot, I started digging into the script in earnest, just trying to tighten it down. A lot of things have been boiled down and sort of essentialized. It probably runs 10 minutes shorter this time around, even though there's a lot more material in it."
Physical Plant is producing the show here in Austin for an all-too-brief run of seven performances before taking it on the road. "Touring the show is something of a logistical nightmare, but it's just such a great opportunity. There are eight actors, four or five tech people. We're really fortunate because we got the entire original cast involved, plus Matt Hislope joined us. I think we have something like 160 props in the play. It's complicated, but we're all really excited about it."
As well they should be. It's a finely polished script with an outstanding cast, including Lee Eddy, Robert Pierson, and Josh Meyer, led by co-author and director Carlos Treviño. Like touring a show to New York City, it's a theatrical opportunity not to be missed.
Not Clown runs March 2-11, Wednesday-Saturday, 8pm, at the Off Center, 2211-A Hidalgo. For more information, call 275-6069 or visit www.physicalplant.org.