"Small and Essential," New Quark Theatre Company Offers Alternatives


Isbell, Koeppel, Remsen
  • Isbell, Koeppel, Remsen
Did you miss Krapp's Last Tape at Theatre South last season? If the answer is yes — and given trends and logistics it probably is — then you missed a genuine event. All the right pieces were in play: Veteran actor Tony Isbell starring in a dream role; Beckett's bleak bite-sized memory play; A production focusing on bare essentials, not because anybody had to (even if they did), but because that was a priority. For true blue fans of great scripts and masterful acting this was a "Get it while it's hot moment," because, even  in a city with a growing, thriving theater scene, this collision of actor and ethos was as rare as the production was fine and fuss-free. 

Turns out there's more where that came from. Isbell and his partner in Krapp Adam Remsen, and Remsen's partner in life Louisa Koeppel have partnered to create Quark Theatre, named for the elementary building block of matter. Nerdy. Cool. 

It makes for a nice logo too. Also essential. Build that brand, kids! (Also on Facebook, of course, friend them).
Quark was inspired by Krapp's modest success, and aims to produce similarly modest work with a focus on performance and quality material that hasn't, and might not otherwise be produced in Memphis.

Season One launches in Spring 2017 with a production of David Harrower's acclaimed Blackbird, a British drama about a young woman meeting the middle aged man who sexually abused her when she was 12.  It's an Olivier winner, with two notable New York runs. 

Blackbird is followed by Alan Barton's Years to the Day in September, and Jennifer Haley's The Nether in March 2018. The former chronicles a coffee house meeting between two old friends where savage nostalgia ensues meriting comparisons to David Mamet and Brett Easton Ellis. The latter's virtual future noir of shifting avatars and changeable realities.

That sounds like a tight schedule; ambitious but manageably so for a company stressing essentials.

Memphis loves big musicals, and big musicals love Memphis. Nothing wrong with that. Even so, and accounting for existing indies, we remain underserved on other fronts. Every jot helps. 

Welcome, Quark. 



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