Road Worriers

So what's it like for the Austin groups who are doing the actual touring? "Insanely fun" (Rude Mech Lana Lesley) or "You find out what you are made of out there, that is for sure" (also Lesley). Apparently a little of both.

("I think we are made of rubber bands: a lot of stretching and snapping," Lesley concludes.)

Local group Teatro Vivo sometimes tours shows to South Texas and the Valley. Artistic Director Rupert Reyes recalls the time a promised Brownsville theatre venue was changed, over their protests, to a spot at a mall. "It was the most difficult performance I have ever done, and I would never do it again," Reyes says. "But strange as it may seem, we did get some good audiences, and they loved the show."

So it's not all gems and roses out there. Cyndi Williams, a local playwright whose Fish was produced last month for FringeNYC, muses on a recent problematic production of her multiple-award-winning Where Are They Now? in Louisiana. "They had some trouble casting. One role had to be replaced because the 17-year-old actress didn't want to say 'hell' or 'bitch,'" she notes. "Evidently, playing a matricidal lesbian wasn't a big issue for her."

And the burdens of a tour can be heavy. When the Vortex Repertory Company decided to hit the road with Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio in 2001, the Kirk Smith musical "was incredibly ambitious to tour. Size of cast. Live music. Big set. Big lights. I can't believe we did it," says Vortex Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum. "Very worthwhile artistically, although much too expensive. Which is why we are not touring more. We need a financial backer to help us take more shows on the road."

  • More of the Story

  • Taking the World Stage

    How more theatre made Here is getting Out There and what that means

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