Joseph Barcia, founder of Theatre Obscura, explains how the group was formed.
When I have spoken excitedly about our production of The House of Yes, the common follow-up question is, “Who’s putting that on?” My reply tends to be vague. After all, how does one come to produce and appear in a play if it’s not an act of massive ego? In this case, it’s because community has created theatre.
Courtney DeGennaro and Jeremy Brett Carter worked on The Magnetic Theatre’s Love Among the Frankensteins together. Over post-show drinks one night with Sean David Robinson, Jeremy brought up The House of Yes and how he envisioned Courtney and Sean bringing new life to the characters of Jackie and Marty Pascal. He explained the show, and Courtney suggested Jeremy play the Pascal twins’ brother Anthony. A few days later, Jeremy reported back that he remembered it is important Anthony be demonstrably younger than his siblings, so Courtney suggested he direct. If he were to direct, she wondered, who would he cast as Anthony? I, Joseph Barcia, came to mind. For the role of the Pascals’ house guest Lesly, Alison Young was his first choice. Greta Trautmann had wanted Jeremy to direct her in something for some time, and he thought she’d be a wonderful Mrs. Pascal.
About two months later, Courtney, Sean and I were backstage of The Magnetic Theatre’s Brief Encounters 2012, and Courtney brought up The House of Yes to me casually. I had tweeted something the day or two before about how I had wanted to work on the play for about ten years. In high school Alison and I, who were friends bonded as recent transplants to the area from Atlanta and New York City, respectively, thought we might play Jackie and Marty one day. Courtney explained the conversations she and Sean had with Jeremy, and I was suddenly excited. Courtney and Sean were perfect as Jackie and Marty, and Jeremy’s right that Alison would be a great Lesly. I was flattered to be thought of as a good choice for Anthony, an excellent character. Courtney and I talked about how I looked as though I could be her and Sean’s brother.
“You know, I love that play and I can produce a show,” I replied. And it’s true: Jeremy and I worked together on the board of another theatre company, and I co-produced there sometimes well as for a cabaret troupe. With Jeremy’s involvement, I knew this show could come alive, as we work well as a team.
Sean David Robinson
In August, after Jeremy confirmed his cast, we confirmed actors’ availabilities and we secured the marvelous Jason Williams as our technical director, I reserved the BeBe Theatre and created Theatre Obscura. And now it is late January: we’re in rehearsals and they’re going well, we have Matthew Brooks as our terrific stage manager who is helping us with those lines us off-book actors memorized incorrectly, and we are buying props and costume pieces. This show is real and living. It’s a team effort that is blossoming into something very special with every rehearsal.
Working with Alison, Courtney, Greta, Jason, Jeremy, Matt and Sean is a privilege. Each of us has remarked at some time that this is just a fun play and group of people to work on, and our director Jeremy feels we’ll give you a good show. My trust, both as producer and actor, is in Jeremy; if he’s happy with us, you’ll follow suit and come to appreciate this dark gem of a play for what it is, which might not be exactly what you think it is when you walk into the BeBe in about a month. Each actor’s take on her or his character is harmonious with the others’ choices but very different from what you might imagine based on the film or perhaps a previous production you might have seen.
So, please put our production in your date book and email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your ticket reservations for February 22-23 or March 1-2. The joy to perform for you is ours. But I think you’ll get something thought-provoking out of it, too.