Contemporary arts activity in Braddock is nothing new
, and we’re still probably a ways from the critical mass that would make that mill town an arts center in the region. But with two noteworthy theatrical productions opening within a week of each other this month, it sure feels like something’s going on.
Photo by Heather Mull
The cast of "American Falls"
On a couple levels, the more expansive of the two productions is Bricolage’s Saints Tour
, about which more will be on this blog next week. But with its new show, American Falls
, barebones productions
announces the intention to have its own long-term impact on Braddock.
, by Micki Johnson, is the first production in barebones’ new Black Box Theater, a raw, 80-seat space built into the first level of the former Superior Motors building.
That location is notable on two counts. One, the building is both adjacent to Unsmoke Systems — the seven-year-old gallery and studio space that more or less inaugurated a new wave of arts programming in Braddock — and across the street from U.S. Steels’ still-smoking (and –flaring) Mon Valley Works. Two, Black Box inhabits the same building as famed chef Kevin Sousa’s planned Superior Motors restaurant, which will doubtless have its own impact on the town of 6,000 (and outsiders’ perception of it) when it opens, likely later this year.
And barebones is doing its part. The 12-year-old company, which in recent years has been in residence at the New Hazlett Theater, is bringing its audience to Braddock. American Falls
has been selling out, and though the show was slated to close this Sunday, demand remains high enough that founder and artistic director Patrick Jordan is trying to add performances.
In fact, the final three scheduled shows were sold out, but barebones just announced a 2 p.m. matinee tomorrow.
I saw American Falls
last night. Directed by Jordan, it’s a strong show, alternately harrowing and ingratiating, despairing and hopeful, about seven people in a small Midwestern town. Here’s Michelle Pilecki’s review for CP
Tickets are $30 and are available here
Barebones Black Box is located at 1211 Braddock Ave.