by Joshua Taylor
They are Fresno’s newest theatre company, but they’re not just another theatre company. As founder Thornton Davidson says, “Fresno doesn’t’t need more theatres or theatre companies. It needs a more vibrant culture of theatre-attendance.” The goal of LTC then is not just to produce quality theatre, but to create a theatre in which audiences who would not normally participate in the medium of live performance may well be entertained, moved, and challenged by the form.
In fact, LTC intends not simply to produce just the typical drama and musical that a normal theatre company does, but rather create a company which can also produce cabaret, spoken word, poetry slams, one acts, and stand-up. In essence, a company of live performance artists practicing their craft in their chosen medium to a receptive audience who may otherwise not experience live theatre.
For its opening production, LTC has collaborated with the indie Fresno company, Theatre Ventoux. Their first show, running now at the CalArts Severance Theatre, is Jean Anouilh’s Antigone.
Theatre Ventoux was founded in 2008 by Greg and Lisa Taber. Known for their intimate and daring productions (notable past shows include 12 Angry Men, Childe Byron, and This Flattering Glass (an original adaptation of Richard II,) Antigone marks Ventoux’s third production of 2015 so far. Ventoux is founded on the principle that theatre is “a place where we can join hands and ruminate on the fact that, yes, we are here, and, yes, it is beautiful.” Ventoux does not audition for their shows, either. A director chooses a play that they wish to produce, and they hand-pick the artists with whom they wish to create that piece of art.
Greg Taber is the Executive Producer of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival, of which Thornton Davidson is President. This long-standing professional relationship was the impetus for the two companies’ collaboration. Greg and Lisa Taber both performed in Antigone at Fresno City College in the Spring of 1989, and had been wanting to revisit the piece ever since. LTC proved to be the perfect opportunity.
After Antigone, LTC plans to produce Venus in Fur by David Ives and Red by John Logan to round out its first season. It will continue to use the CalArts Severance Theatre as its home. It will also continue to use its BYOT (Bring-Your-Own-Ticket) pricing system wherein the audience donates however much they wish after the performance.Antigone stars Kayla M. Weber as Antigone, Greg Taber as Creon, Joshua Taber as The Chorus, Jessica Reedy as The Nurse, and Renee Newlove as First Guard. It is directed by Lisa Taber. It plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 through May 9.