Friday, February 26, 2010

This week's O.C. Weekly features a dual profile of Monkey Wrench Collective and the Chance Theater in Anaheim, penned by long-suffering theater critic Joel Beers:
Meanwhile, Monkey Wrench opens in a tiny storefront with the U.S. premiere of a provocative new drama by [Mark] Ravenhill, whose past plays include the sex-and-violence-infused Some Explicit Polaroids and Shopping and Fucking.

Choosing a Ravenhill play as the first offering at the Monkey Wrench (the blood-drenched Jacobean drama The Revenger’s Tragedy opens soon after) makes sense for [Artistic Director Dave] Barton and the four other members of the collective. Though the Monkey Wrench isn’t Rude Guerrilla part two, the new company will certainly follow the former entity’s radical stance onstage.

“This is a more distilled version of Rude Guerrilla,” Barton says of Monkey Wrench. “Our focus here, honestly, isn’t to make money, but to make art for art’s sake. As long as we can make the rent, aren’t shelling too much of our money into it, and can pay the actors and technicians a little bit, that’s all we care about. We’re going to be edgy, avant-garde and political. We’re not going to do fucking musicals or fucking Neil Simon.”

Of course, Barton realizes his new theater will meet the same fate as the old one if it doesn’t make any money. But even if Monkey Wrench finds its non-mainstream fare doesn’t click in the new space, at least it will expire doing its own thing.

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