“Brown Box Theatre was founded in 2009 to fill a void in the arts landscape of my home region, the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We began with very small productions with almost no budget, but with our First Annual Free Shakespeare tour on Delmarva, we knew we were doing something right,” said Kyler Taustin, Artistic Director for Brown Box Theatre. And he couldn’t have said it any better; they truly are doing something right. In fact, when Shorebread attended the Shakespeare production back in the summer, it was a packed house (well, street to be exact – the production was held on Main Street in Berlin). “Since then, we expanded and began producing shows in the shoulder season in order to satisfy the Eastern Shore community’s craving for the performing arts,” said Taustin. They’ve expanded quickly, making it their mission to bring more arts to the shore. It’s no secret that the area lacks the cultural opportunities available in metropolitan areas, especially performing arts.
“We now produce 4 shows a year including our flagship Shakespeare production which has expanded into a three week tour from the bay to the beach,” said Taustin. We decided to hook back up with Taustin and his Theatre project this week to discuss their new production, Blue Window, coming to Delmarva November 14th – 17th. “Blue Window marks our first fall production. If successful, we hope to make a fall production a yearly tradition.” We have no doubt it will be a successful as their other ventures.
When we found out their first fall production would be coming down to the beach, we knew we had to get the scoop from the talented cast. “I was first introduced to Blue Window in college, where I was studying theatre with a minor in psychology. I was intrigued to find a play that combined the two worlds so seamlessly,” said Anna Trachtman, Blue Window Director. The description drew us in even more. The production is set at a Manhattan dinner party in 1984, the guests are revealed with touching comic irony as a cross-section of modern day humanity. “Everyone experiences the world differently, and this play highlights all the ways in which human beings can succeed or fail in their attempts to share these experiences with one another,” said Tractman.
Kyler Taustin, an Eastern Shore native always makes it a point to bring each production here because the lack of performing arts. “It runs deep for me- I love bringing my work home, being a native of Berlin, I remember having to travel to DC or NY to see high quality theatre,” said Taustin. “We at Brown Box see theatre as a democratic art form, we believe that theatre does not belong in the academy but in the streets and that everyone should access to it.” The cast and production appreciates coming down south to this part of the East Coast- much different than their home base in Boston. “I think the major difference between our audiences in Boston and those on the Eastern Shore is the gratitude and openness,” said Taustin.
The structure and pacing of Blue Window is different from most our audiences have ever seen before. Director Anna Trachtman explained that the action takes place in five apartments simultaneously. “An audience member can choose to focus on a specific story line within each moment or must learn to view the world as one large picture, or a puzzle as one character would say, with many moving parts,” said Trachtman. This production displays the arts in a way one might not have seen before, using the way you develop a set of skills such as language that allows you to convey to another person what you’re seeing. “The arts is just one way in which we can share our experience of the world with others, I love that the arts is a world in which this expression does not always need to be realistic or truthful,” said Trachtman. “But it can almost always elicit emotion or empathy from an audience or viewer.” They’re excited to hear which characters and themes will resonate with their Maryland audience, explaining that the show is generally a comedy, but when it does take turns; audiences may be left with a lot to consider in regard to their own relationships.
Blue Window is heading to the beautiful Ocean City Center for the Arts building in Ocean City November 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th with shows each night at 7:30PM. In addition to the $25 ticket for admission into the show, you can tour the gallery and receive a glass of complementary wine if you get there at 6:30PM, making it a great evening.
So what’s next for the talented, innovative group of performing art enthusiasts? “We hope to expand our tours, even the winter and fall productions,” said Taustin. “Unlike our Shakespeare productions, which travel to almost every county in Maryland on Delmarva, Blue Window and other fringe season shows only tour to Ocean City. In the future, we hope to take them to communities all over the Eastern Shore; we want to continue to be a reliable provider of the performing arts for all of these communities.”