Starting a theatre company is something that takes hours of time, and often thousands of dollars. When a theatre company lacks the funds to get started however, they must rely on something else. Courage.
The newly founded Coeurage Theatre Company, an underground organization headed by artistic director Jeremy Lelliot, debuted in February with their original production Head Over Heels, written by company member and new playwright Eric Czuleger.
Heels was incredibly well received, and critically heralded especially for its tightly written scenes and outstanding cast of women. The best part about it? All the members in the audience decided their own ticket price.
That's right, along with new and rarely produced works (their current project, Don Juan In Hell is enjoying a run until May 16), the Coeurage Theatre Company also employs a strict "pay what you want" policy to ensure that their art is available for anyone who wants to see it.
Although the company hasn't exactly found a permanent home in the LA area, (they rent out spaces to produce their theatre, but can't quite get their hands on a leased building yet), it hasn't affected the quality of their work.
"The energy in the house on opening night [of Don Juan] was electric," said Lelliot. "The cast has found innovative ways to make the words come alive."
Sadly, due to their fledgling status, they have had a hard time keeping the house full, and had to cancel last Sunday's matinee performance. This is the first time they have done so since their creation.
"The reason of course is that there's so much bad theatre around, critics and others don't really want to waste time with yet another upstart group of amateurs" said managing director Gedaly Guberek. "And yet we have a talent pool of amazing actors... so we're in the slow process of trying to prove to the world that we're worth your time."
The company is taking temporary residence in the NoHo London Music Hall, but they have their sights on a bigger and brighter future.
"Our ensemble is inspired by an imaginative understanding of Courage" said Guberek. "Coeur, French for heart, and Rage, meaning fervor, on fire; together, Coeurage is a heart enflamed with passion, which we bring to each and every production. We have passion for our art and aren't afraid to show it. We ain't no cowardly lion!"
You can follow the Coeurage Theatre Company on their website, www.coeuragetheatre.com.