May 2005  | This Issue

Michael Bettencourt

Let Us Now Praise Smaller Theatres

ver the last several years I have had the luck of being connected with a truly wonderful theatre in Brooklyn, the Gallery Players.  Located on 14th Street, just off 4th Avenue in Park Slope, Gallery Players (which has been around for almost 40 years) is a truly community theatre, in the best sense of that phrase, being a theatre supported by, and in turn promoting, the community in which it lives.  As Matt Schicker, director, public relations guru, and long-time theatre member, says, Gallery Players is "a little theater family," and like all families, while it can have its frictions, it has also nurtured a healthy and diverse history of successful productions.

My involvement came as a playwright produced in one of what they call their Black Box productions -- four weeks in June when the theatre runs a short-play festival that involves dozens of actors, playwrights, directors, and design people.  It's a playwright's god-send -- not only do you get a production, but you also get to do talkbacks with the audience and to work with new actors and directors.  The Black Box series also does readings throughout the year, and I have had several of those as well, courtesy of artistic director Heather Siobhan Curran.  For a playwright, then, the Gallery Players is a haven because they truly believe in nurturing relationships with playwrights, and back that belief with the resources every playwright needs: actors, directors, space, time.

This June I will have two pieces in the Black Box series that have never been produced: Only The Dead Know Brooklyn, an adaptation of the Thomas Wolfe story (part of a suite of plays about Brooklyn), and Sporting Goods (in the week dedicated to gender issues), where a high school wrestler revels in the chance to touch "sports-approved flesh" in ways that would get him hurt or worse off the wrestling mat.  We just finished auditions and call-backs, all of which went smoothly, and start rehearsals at the beginning of May.

To be sure, it will be nice to have two more "notches" on the resume.  But much more gratifying is being in the company of like-minded lovers of doing theatre that may put little in the wallet but feeds the soul for the continuing long-haul.  Kudos and thanks to the Gallery Players.

(To read more about the organization,  go to  Especially look at the article about the group in Time Out New York, posted on the website.)

©2005 Michael Bettencourt
©2005 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Michael Bettencourt has had his plays
produced in New York, Chicago,
Boston, and Los Angeles, among others.
Continued thanks to his "prime mate"
and wife, Maria-Beatriz

For more commentary and articles by
Michael Bettencourt, check the Archives.

Your Comments Are Appreciated -Click



All prior issues are secured in the Scene4 archives.
To access the Archives:

Scene4 Archives-Click
Scene4 Magazine Subscribe

Scene4 Email This Page To A Friend-Click

© 2000-2005 Scene4 - International Magazine of Performing Arts and Media - AVIAR-DKA Ltd. All rights reserved (including author and individual copyrights as indicated). All copyrights, trademarks and servicemarks are protected by the laws of the United States and International laws. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.