September 2018

Our Marketing Director, Hannah Brizzi, shares her thoughts on the past season and how we can make next season great:

What a season it has been! We have recently closed our 2018 season, one that I was lucky enough to be a part of. Pittsburgh never ceases to amaze me with it's incredible talent. When I showed up at the read-through for Picasso at the Lapin Agile, I was blown away by the talent around me. I hadn't done a comedy for a long time and I forgot how much fun rehearsals can be when you are just laughing constantly.

The laughs continued when I attended Ubu Roi and The Inspector General. When I read the scripts months ago, I couldn't imagine what these shows would look like up on their feet. I'm continually in admiration of our directors and creative teams and their incredible visions.

If there is one thing I realized during my time here at Throughline Theatre Company, it is how much work goes into making the shows happen. We are talking hours behind the scenes of people working late nights and weekends to get these shows up, noticed and seen. All on a volunteer basis. Yep, people might not know that we don't get paid. So that means it is just a team of very enthusiastic theater lovers that want to do everything they can to bring theater to the public. It is honestly the best kind of people to be around. I would encourage you to help us out by joining Patreon today. For as little as one fancy drink from Starbucks a month (seriously, the price of your Pumpkin Spice Latte), you can make an incredible difference for Throughline. Learn more about here: https://www.patreon.com/throughlinetheatre


Thanks for reading and supporting local art!


May 2018

Our Artistic Director, Sean Sears, was asked to share a few thoughts on his take on what theatre means to him...

I want to put down in writing what I think theatre is, and I guess I want to put down in writing what theater is. Theatre versus Theatre, y’know, the RE vs. the ER.

--The spelling thing; I get it all the time. Especially down South. That’s where I'm from. Down South. I had a friend that had someone look at them befuddled for ages when they said they work in theatre. It took 4 tries before they said “oh! You mean Thee-ATE-ER!” --

Mostly, it’s the art vs the space. Theatre, in its traditional sense is made up of the triptych; but instead of Father, Son, Holy Ghost (or Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Hi Mom) we have The Play, The Audience, and the Space.

My vision as the Artistic Director of Throughline Theatre is that it has to have all three to be Theatre. To be Theatre you gotta be doing a Play by a Playwright or you’re just doing something else: Improv, Performance Art, Standup, what have you.  It could have theatrical elements- in the same way a recording of all the songs of a Musical is not an actual Musical. It if it’s not a play by a playwright it's not theatre with an RE. I feel that there are only a few rules for it to be a play by a playwright;

1.       Anyone, or multiple anyone's, can be a playwright as long as they can in some way communicate their ideas  It doesn’t have to be written. Or language. Or words.

2.       The ideas inherent in the play have to be able to be performed as they are understood.

The Audience. You have to be doing this play for an audience. I did not say in front of an audience. In the days of Sarah Bernhardt (more on her and her wooden leg later) the audience could be in two types. With aisles in the middle or without. So boring. Without was called Continental and with was called American (who says were the most divisive we’ve ever been, amiright?)

Regardless of how many there are, where they are, or when they show up; someone, anyone, who is not involved with the show, in any way, and happens to see a moment, of any part of the show is; the Audience.If you saw a part of the show you weren’t supposed to see? Still Audience. What if you didn’t pay? Audience. What if the show has caused you such anguish in your normie stale has-been life as you must join the troupe RIGHT NOW!?! Audience; now go practice your 60 second edgy Mamet, Normie™.

Lastly, Space…The final frontier. About 20 years ago doing shows in weird spaces was super cool and fun. The Space, the last part of the triptych, this sacred third of our magical art pie? The only thing that makes it The Space™ is that you have chosen it specifically. In whatever rad space we find this time, in a renovated church, in your front yard at midnight at the full moon? That’s trespassing…but THEATRE!

All of the Pittsburgh artistic scene -Devised works, found spaces, immersive audiences. You should see them. All of them. Its a kind of magic you know. A holy magic. Maybe that’s why it comes in threes.

April 2018

Our Managing Director, Katherine Stienstra, wants to share how she got involved in Throughline...

A few years ago -after a brief hiatus from working in the theatre- the itch that starts when you have been away too long showed itself and I was called back. I love the theatre because it is intense, enriching, and thought-provoking, but I feel called because there is something undefinable about communicating with a live audience. At every performance a story is told and through that telling we are all left changed and transformed.

When I returned to the theatre was met with open arms by the wonderful group of artists at Throughline Theatre Company. Through this I have gained wonderful friends, a wealth of experience, and gratitude for the opportunity to do what I love. If you are like me and want to share stories, make friends, and bring opportunities to others- join us. We would love to see you at the theater.

Ubu Roi is playing 6/22-30 at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre.

January 2018

January's blog post is from our Business Manager, Eric Leslie, who has been with the company since almost the very beginning:

This is going to be a little sappy, coming from the business guy. Sorry not sorry.

You can do good theatre without a lot of things. And in the eight(!) years I’ve worked with them, Throughline has done good theatre without most of them. You can get by without a lavish set, or any set at all. You don’t need expensive props, or fancy costumes. Elaborate light and sound designs are optional. (Having lights is very tough to forego, but even that is possible in a pinch, though I don’t recommend it.) Having all those things is nice! Given the option, I don’t know many people who would turn them down. But you can go without them, and still have a great show.

But you cannot, cannot do good theatre without heart. You can’t do it without enthusiasm and honesty and gratitude. Audiences know. If you’re not putting up something you believe in, something you’re excited about, something you’re eager to invite them to take part in, they’ll check out. And then you’ve spent a lot of time and energy making something that in the end, didn’t reach people, because the work isn’t enough. It’s about connections. It’s about people. You, whether you’re on the stage or behind it, need to reach the people in the seats.

I think everybody who’s done theatre has had a couple of shows (or more) where that equation doesn’t fully come together. I don’t think any company, Throughline included, can swear they’ve never fallen into that trap for a performance or even a run. But I can say that since I joined the company back in our inaugural year of 2010, enthusiasm and honesty and gratitude have never been missing from this team. I was lucky enough to be brought into the company by friends, I’ve brought in friends of my own, and I’ve made new friends that I treasure along the way; all great artists and just as importantly great people I’m lucky to know. Watching Throughline grow - in size, in capability, in prominence - for what is quickly approaching a decade has been full of proud and grateful moments, and those have often centered around the artistic quality of our shows. But for me personally, the most satisfying pride and deepest gratitude has been in seeing how many people are excited to work with us and excited to see our work. Excited to know what Throughline will do next. Excited to hear when auditions are coming around again. Excited to become or remain part of this family.

That’s the “community” part of “community theatre”, and it’s why I’ll never have a problem with that label no matter how big our organization or our stage might get. It doesn’t indicate a lack of quality, and it doesn’t tell you how much money was or wasn’t behind a show (though hey, have you considered becoming a Throughline patron over on Patreon? because we do actually still need money. Okay, sorry, business manager talking). It says that the focus is on the people; the people who make the art and the people they present it to. People who need this, who fill their nights and weekends driving their families nuts and giving up their time and their sweat because they just can’t not. I believe that’s what has always gotten Throughline’s family excited, and why folks come back. It’s why I come back. 2018 will be another year of change for this crew, and change is both exciting and scary, but I can’t wait to see where we go next and I hope you’ll all come with us - on stage, backstage, and in our seats.

Happy New Year.