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Troupe hastens curtain call

Rude Guerrilla will shut down next month instead of staging plays

February 06, 2009|Mike Boehm

Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company has decided it would rather not spend the next eight months as a lame duck and will sing a swan song in March instead.

After recently saying it would complete its 2009 season before splintering into two new stage companies, the Orange County theater group, which launched in 1997, will call it a day after its next round of two concurrently running plays.

With the bad economy biting into attendance and donations and the lease running out next month on its 60-seat space in downtown Santa Ana, it made sense to shut down instead of carrying on with six more plays that had been scheduled through September, board member Sharyn Case said. Case is part of a group that aims to stay put and emerge in the fall under a new name with a less hard-edged style. She said the group would rather use the time to prepare for what comes next.

"You can't run a full-time theater while planning a new theater," Case said.

Artistic director and co-founder Dave Barton says he is scouting sites for his new company, Monkey Wrench Collective, which aims to open in October or November with a focus on the edgy, politicized, seldom-for-the-squeamish aesthetic that has been a Rude Guerrilla hallmark.

Barton will direct one of the finales, the Feb. 13 through March 21 U.S. premiere of "Love and Money" by British playwright Dennis Kelly. Meanwhile, "A Number" by Caryl Churchill will have its L.A.-O.C. premiere as a "second stage" presentation, Feb. 21 through March 22.

Kelly's play, Barton says, is about "a couple who get in over their heads in debt and their relationship implodes. I don't think we've ever worked on a play more timely than this one, and I'm . . . proud to be ending on it."

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mike.boehm@latimes.com

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