Gypsy Lew Theater Co. staging L-A production

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LEWISTON — A newly-formed venture called Gypsy Lew Theater Company will launch its imaginative concept of traveling venues with three performances at Guthries Independent Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, Aug. 27-29.

“Abundance,” an acclaimed play by Pulitzer-prize winning dramatist Beth Henley, marks the first live theater presentation at the 22 Park St. space that has hosted film festival screens in recent months.

Production of later shows will be staged at locations that could range from local parks or churches to riverside space or even alleys, according to Gypsy Lew’s organizers Jared Lussier and Glynnis Nadel.

Lussier is president of the board and he plays a role in the initial presentation of Gypsy Lew. Nadel is executive director as well as artistic director. She directs “Abundance,” which she said is personally gratifying to her because she did her thesis on Beth Henley for her degree in theater at Bates College not long ago.

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Lussier and Nadel met when she was involved in Community Little Theater’s participation in one-act play competition and Lussier took over a role for an actor who had dropped out. Nadel was getting set to move to Philadelphia, but when they discovered they had similar ideas on L-A’s unique opportunities in the arts and theatre, she decided to stay.

From that, Gypsy Lew developed over the past few months after rights to perform “Abundance” were obtained. Guthries Independent Theater had the right intimate atmosphere for audiences and it was a good fit for the new company’s objectives, they said.

Lussier said future shows are expected to take place in the Twin Cities, although productions might be done beyond those boundaries at some time.

Lussier is a Lewiston native and has served on the board of Grow L-A. He said he started to study architecture and he notes that there are significant parallels between art and architecture.

“We are fleshing out the rest of the season,” Lussier said. Four or five shows throughout the year are planned.

Another production will be staged in the Twin Cities and it might be outdoors. Lussier and Nadel said they recognize the challenges that go along with choosing site-specific space for the actors and audiences. They will need to deal with parking, accessibility, contingencies for weather, and various municipal codes and requirements

This year’s theme deals with women’s narratives and “the dichotomy of what we think our dreams are and what they really are,” Nadel said. “It’s about coming to terms with identity,” she said. Both organizers point out that enhancement of community pride and potential is among the company’s core objectives.

The following year’s theme will probably deal with the effect of art on a community and its people, they said.

Gypsy Lew’s mission includes the possibility of theatre workshops for young people. The company also aims to highlight Lewiston-Auburn as a destination and to show visitors as well as L-A residents the value of this place.

The play is an epic tale of the American western frontier in the late 1800s. It focuses on the lives of two young women as they navigate the fulfillment of their dreams and their evolving friendship spanning 25 years.

“It’s hilarious, serious and sometimes dark,” Nadel said.

Tickets are $12 and will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the ticket limit for each show is 135, open seating. Beverages and food from the adjoining restaurant and pub, She Doesn’t Like Guthries, can be purchased for the performance, with food orders taken until 6:40 p.m.

For more information, go online to www.gypsylewtheater.com.

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