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Fronkensteen Experimental Theatre Group begins its Second Season with a lot of Firsts


Fronkensteen Experimental Theatre GroupClarksville, TN – The Fronkensteen Experimental Theatre Group (FETG) will open its second season with Shifting Gears: Three Plays by Jeri Weiss on the Friday and Saturday of January twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth directed by Ricky Young. The play will be performed at The Coup starting at 8:00pm.

This production marks the first play in Fronkensteen’s partnership with The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University in Roanoke Virginia. The partnership came about when Artistic Director Ricky Steven Young Jr., also a member of the Playwright’s Lab, discovered a gap in their regular programs and services.

“We try to build up local theatre artists and empower them to create new works onstage,” says Young, “But we also want them to be able to branch out with their new-found knowledge and connect with other theater artists out in the rest of the world. This partnership is a step forward in that mission.”

“Shifting Gears,” Says Weiss, “came about when I realized how many of my plays take place in cars.  Since it wasn’t something I consciously set out to do, I had to stop and ask myself, ‘what is it that’s driving me to place my characters behind the wheel?’”

Each of the three short plays in the performance tackles a different genre in a different model of car. From a gripping mystery noir in Mustang to a wacky southern comedy in Pickup a dark existential drama in Suburban. Says Weiss, “One thing I noticed is that the model of each car not only reveals qualities of its owner, which might be expected, but also suggests the atmosphere of each piece.  An even closer examination, however, reveals a deeper thematic element:  the car as a means of escape.”

Shifting Gears also marks the first production with involvement from Fronkensteen’s Director Training Program. Nate House, director in training, got to sink his teeth into the play as an assistant to Ricky Young and in a step forward to directing solo for other shows in the season.

“They like to throw you in the deep end here and get you working right away giving you hands on training as you go along” says House who readily admits his lack of theatre experience but eagerness to learn. Fronkensteen hopes to end it’s second season this year with six new directors coming out of its program and is always looking for more. Aspiring directors, actors, designers, and playwrights of all ages are encouraged to contact them at anytime.

The Partnership Program and Training Program allow Clarksville theatre artists to dive into new plays created by theatre artists from across the nation and right around the corner to learn the process of putting them on the stage in front of an audience and helping the playwright in the final stages of editing the work. In future years it hopes to expand those programs to fill the needs of every local theatre artist.

The Coup is located at 819 Crossland Avenue, Clarksville, Tennessee. The plays will be January 27th-28th starting at 8:00pm. The cost is a suggested donation of $4.00.




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