Hrrc: `Not Holy, Not Roman, Not Radio'
Pollack, Joe, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
THROUGHOUT its history, the Holy Roman Repertory Company has pointed out the fact that the original Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
Today, Patton Hasegawa, the company's artistic director, notes, "We are not Holy, not Roman, and not Radio!" marking a major change in the group's attitude and direction.
For those who did not see the HRRC work under its creators, Hollis Huston and Nick McGegan, or even last year, under Hasegawa and Managing Director Larry Roberson, a bit of history is in order. The HRRC used historical incidents and real people, plus archival research, to tell stories of the past. The format was a staged reading, with period music as accompaniment, and for most of its years, the group's work was broadcast, first over KWMU, more recently over KWHX.
It's a new era.
The HRRC now has an Actors Equity contract and will be expanding to two-weekend runs - with costumes - at CASA, with other productions at the History Museum.
Hasegawa is naturally excited about the changes and the growth of the company and reports that the new costumes will be as historically accurate as all the group's other work.
The so-called Mainstage series will include five shows, beginning Nov. 6 with "The First Adams Family: John and Abigail," and continuing with a look at St. Louisans during World War II, a production of Native American stories, one of narratives by slave women and a repeat of one of the favorite HRRC shows, "The Life and Loves of Katherine the Great."
The first History Museum program, "The Bridge That Eads Built," will be performed on Friday, and short plays by George Hickenlooper Sr. on James B. Eads, the bridge builder, and others, will go on through the end of the year.
I've been charmed by the wit and wisdom - and talent - of the HRRC for almost all its history, and longer runs will make it that much more available to other St. Louisans. I recommend it highly.
More theater news: Ron Himes, who founded the St. Louis Black Repertory Company and serves as its producing director, will portray Justice Clarence Thomas in a new play, "Unquestioned Integrity: The Hill/Thomas Hearings," which will have its world premiere Friday in Atlanta. …