From screen to stage

Q Cinema veterans tackle live theater with the guerrilla-like QLive!

CURTAIN UP! | Producing partners Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham have theater backgrounds, but QLive! is a departure from the movie-focused work their organization, Q Cinema, has done for a dozen years.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

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QLIVE: NONE OF THE ABOVE
Trinity Bicycles patio,
207 S. Main St., Fort Worth.
Sept. 23–24 at 8 p.m.
$15, QCinema.org

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Anyone who’s ever wanted to start a theater company will tell you that the biggest hurdle is finding the right space. It’s no different in DF-Dub, where the opportunities seem endless, but affordable spaces that can work for the demands of theater are limited.

QLive!, a new theater company based in Fort Worth, is finding ways to work around that. Its first full production, for instance, is None of the Above , a two-person drama by Jenny Lyn Bader. It opens Friday on the back patio of a bicycle shop just west of downtown Cowtown.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is the immersive experience, where it’s not just that you sit down and watch a show, but you experience a show,” says QLive’s Todd Camp, who founded Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival, Q Cinema. “The three shows that we have lend themselves quite well to that.”

Those three shows, which run this fall, begin with Above, which deals with a parochial school student and her teacher. In November, there’ll be Yasmina Reza’s oft-produced Art, which will hopefully happen in a gallery space (they’re still negotiating). It will close out the year with Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi, taking place in a machine shop near downtown Fort Worth.

QLive! has been a project three years in the making, and will be led by Camp’s Q Cinema cohort Kyle Trentham, as artistic director. The group has already launched a successful Tuesday night open mike comedy event at Percussions Lounge, and in February presented a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening, the day before the musical based on that play opened at Bass Performance Hall. They also brought Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in for a one-night performance.

Like other arts groups with a large LGBT following that present works of interest to that community — including Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale — Trentham says QLive doesn’t want the label of “gay theater” … despite the big “Q” in its name.

“Young [audiences] don’t think in those terms anymore,” he says. “They just want to see theater they like.”

With Corpus Christi, Trentham says that creating an immersive experience will be crucial to the production. “It’s a working machine shop,” he says. “You walk in and the actors are working, getting their hands dirty. Then in the cleansing scene, they actually are cleaned.”

Camp, who has led Q Cinema for 13 years, is no stranger to controversy. He was a critical player in the late ‘90s “Labor of Love” project at the now-defunct Fort Worth Theatre. That group presented shows like Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. A few times, there were protesters in front of the performance space, Orchestra Hall.

Considering the dust-up Corpus Christi caused in Texas last year when a Tarelton State University junior had his student production of it canceled, Camp is prepared for blowback.

“You are not going to tell me what I can and cannot do in my town, even if you’re the lieutenant governor,” he says. “This is an important work by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who’s from Texas. … It’s an incredibly pro-spiritual show. It’s not anti-religion or blasphemous. It takes organized religion, which has been used to club the gay and lesbian community for many years, and retells the story that makes it a little more compatible and open to them.”

For now, they’ll have to see how their audience deals with a show outside a bike shop.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

An evening of illuminati(on)

You’d think that Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham would be busy enough with Q Cinema, Q Live! and Q Cinema’s weekly stand-up comedy shows. But noooooo!

The two Cowtown Q chiefs somehow managed to find the time to let their talents shine on stage in an offbeat little play that winds up its run this weekend.

The play, presented by Drag Strip Courage — “Producing the art that others won’t” — is called Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends (A Final Evening with the Illuminati), by Larson and Lee. It is, according to their press release, the story of Reverend Eddie, played by Seth Johnson, who is taunted by his archenemy, the Illuminati, as he waits for death. Trouble is, only Reverend Eddie can hear the Illuminati’s evil whisperings, much to the chagrin of his much-put-upon assistant Brother Lawrence, played by Michael E. Muller.

“The paranoid, pill-popping preacher experiences a handful of hallucinations after he and several townsfolk are exposed to nerve gas, and the audience is allowed insight into his visions as he gives several absurd sermons.”

Todd and Kyle get the fun parts in the play, sounds like to me, since between them they get to play all the nameless characters that populate Reverend Eddie’s hallucinations, including, the press release says, “a person approved for sainthood by a bitchy celestial servant, a pair of country singers on ukeleles and the Apostle Paul re-envisioned as ’70s gay icon Paul Lynde.”

(Todd seemed pretty happy about the fact that he gets to do his Paul Lynde impersonation on stage, by the way.)

The final performances of the show, directed by Justin Flowers, start at 8 p.m. each night Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 15-17, indoors at Arts Fifth Avenue, 1628 5th Ave. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10. And as an added bonus, Works Old and New — An Exhibit of Artwork by Lake Simons is also on display at Arts Fifth Avenue through July 22.

—  admin

More 'Corpus Christi' coming to Fort Worth

Q Live founders Todd Camp (left) and Kyle Trentham
Q Live founders Todd Camp (left) and Kyle Trentham

There should be plenty of theater for people to protest in Fort Worth over the next few months.

Todd Camp, Kyle Trentham and Q Cinema are bringing a full-scale production of the Terrence McNally play, “Corpus Christi” to Fort Worth’s Rose Marine Theater.

The student production that was banned on the Tarleton State University campus will be presented at the theater in May. Dallas Voice will be a sponsor of that production.

Then in July, Q Cinema’s new live production branch, QLive, will present a full production of the play. The play will run July 23-31. Camp said he’s been wanting to do the play since he saw a production of it in Austin five years ago.

The Tarleton protests ensured a local production.

—  David Taffet