Beneath the Hilberry Theatre in Midtown is a smaller, intimate studio space that’s coming to life this summer. Returning for its second season the Underground Theatre will be reopening its doors, this time with the aptly named “Who’s the Monster Now?!” series. Actors from all around Michigan have banded together to perform four different shows that are sure to delight, astonish and mystify audiences. Check out a brief synopsis of this summer’s shows:
Faust(us) – After growing tired of his ordinary life, Faustus decides to sell his soul for a taste of the dark arts, which give him supreme power and infinite knowledge. This reimagined and devised classic tells the tale of the war between good and evil that pursues in the heart of men and women everywhere.
A Behanding in Spokane – Written by playwright Martin McDonaugh, this dark comedy follows a distraught Carmichael who’s been looking for his missing hand (which was severed by ruffians) for 27 years. A couple of con artists attempt to take advantage of his plight, turning his obsession into their own financial gain.
Gruesome Playground Injuries – Longtime friends Doug and Kayleen chronicle their life through their injuries. From ages 8 to 38, this misadventure highlights life’s greatest and most painful milestones.
She Kills Monsters – After Agnes Evans loses her parents and her fifteen-year-old sister, Tilly, in a car crash, she comes across Tilly’s Dungeons and Dragons notebook. With the help of the local geek, Chuck, Agnes battles evil fairies, ogres, and nasty cheerleaders on a whirlwind adventure that teaches her more about herself and her sister than she ever thought possible
Check out the Hilberry homepage to learn more about running dates and tickets.
The Underground Theatre, founded by Miles Boucher and Kassy Skoretz, was created for the purpose of producing high quality theater performances throughout the summer. This series is being championed by Wayne State University students with the support of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theater and Dance.
Boucher, the co-artistic director of The Underground, has helped make this project, or this happening, as he calls it, into a reality. As a recent MFA theater graduate of Wayne State University, he sees this as an opportunity to bring actors from all over the state to perform summer shows. Calling directing one of his original loves, Boucher says that it’s a very different experience than his acting career. “An actor primarily gets to do these specific things and be these specific people,” says Boucher. “They create something from a very personal point of view. And I think that a director gets that too, but they get to have a bit more fun during the rehearsal process. They get a taste of each character.”
MFA graduate Kevin Replinger first approached both Boucher and Skoretz, explaining that Wayne State didn’t have readily available theater during the summer months. With the help of Wayne State Chair John Wolf, they were able to use the studio space below the Hilberry Theatre in Midtown. “One of the original ideas was the notion that graduates work in the studio space,” says Boucher. “The grad students never work anywhere else besides the Hilberry stage. So I wanted to get back to the directing seat – which I hadn’t done in a long time – but I also wanted to give my fellow actors the chance to work in a studio environment.”
Skoretz, who’s currently pursuing a PhD in Theatre from Wayne State University, explained in a Bonstelle article that they “started The Underground in order to explore experiment and share the work that we love. Theater is a vital and visceral art through which we ask questions about our reality.”
True to form, The Underground is creating the opportunity to push the limits. As Boucher says, “This has become our mission statement: doing work that no one normally gets to do, or work that we weren’t previously allowed to do. That’s the big draw of the studio space.”
Tickets start at $10 and all are encouraged to subscribe to the entire season for $38. To subscribe or purchase single tickets, call 313-577-2972, or visit the Wayne State University Theatre and Dance Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.
“Who’s the Monster Now?!” opens July 9, so take a break from topside living and experience what’s happening in The Undergound.