Theater buffs think Out of the Box

Out of the box has come to mean thinking beyond the usual limits and paradigms.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Linda Britt and Stan Spilecki

For Linda Britt and her husband, Stan Spilecki, of Lewiston it means that and more.

Britt is artistic director and president, and Spilecki is scenic and lighting designer and vice president of Out of the Box, a theater company that has been the couple’s dream and labor of love.

Out of the Box has also come to mean theater that can travel.

The company began more than two years ago when Britt wrote "Americana," a series of one-act plays. The usual venues for local theater presented a challenge for this genre.

“It’s tough to take risks," Spilecki said. "Theaters want shows that fill seats.”

Referring to the historical preference in the community for musicals and comedy, Spilecki said, “The challenge, therefore, was for more drama. (The concept of) a small theater company came out of the small theater movement of the '80s."

Out of the Box is currently using a theater space known as DownStage, an area in the downstairs of L/A Arts at 221 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. It is a small, 50-seat theater.

“This allows for a more intimate experience for the audience," Spilecki said. "They can experience the performance in a totally different way. The intensity increases dramatically. It is the essence of live theater."

And the location is less expensive for operations, "so we are not beholden to ticket sales and can do things with more challenges,” he said.

Spilecki's career in theater began in a Catholic high school when the principal asked him to grow a beard to play Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof."

Britt's superlative moment as a director was "The Laramie Project," the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was murdered in Laramie, Wyo. “It was a special project, telling the important story. It was where Out of the Box really started," she said.

Britt wrote "Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington," a one-woman play about the late U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. The Out of the Box production of the Smith drama is currently traveling statewide, where it is enjoying success and generating revenue to fund other projects.

Britt and Spilecki are also currently involved in Community Little Theatre’s production of "To Kill a Mockingbird," opening Feb. 4 at the Great Falls venue. Britt is directing and Spilecki, in addition to his lead role as Atticus Finch, is doing scenic design and lighting.

As for the non-theater aspects of their lives, Spilecki says, “We keep the drama on the stage.”

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Comments

Mitch Thomas's picture

"The Laramie Project" was a Community Little Theatre production

The writer of the article left out the fact that it was at L/A’s COMMUNITY LITTLE THEATRE that Linda directed "The Laramie Project," the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. That remarkable production was part of CLT’s 68th season, and was performed in January 2008. The theatre has been fortunate to have Linda and Stan and their family involved in performing and leading in many shows at CLT over the years!

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