Vagabond Acting Troupe to host EgoPo's ‘A Doll's House'

Smashing A Doll's House: The Arts House, home of Vagabond Acting Troupe, hosts a remount of EgoPo Theater's smash hit, ìA Doll's House,î featuring 14-year-old and past Barrymore Award Nominee Mackenzie Maula. The play runs one night only. Photo provided

For just one night, The Vagabond Acting Troupe will host the 2013 Fringe Smash Hit that the Philadelphia Weekly called, “One of the most audacious productions at this year’s Fringe Festival.”

EgoPo Classic Theater’s season opening production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” is remounted on Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. in the Vagabond Acting Troupe’s initiative to bring exciting and innovative works to their local Arts House stage.

“This production is normally performed with a cast of at least five,” says VAT Executive Artistic Director Aileen McCulloch about choosing to invite the production out to their Chester/Berks/Lancaster corner theater, The Arts House. “Director Brenna Geffers put it all in the hands of 14-year-old actress Mackenzie Maula – and when I saw the show during the first week of the Fringe, she was fantastic.”

The premise of the production of the classic work turned modern is that one 14-year-old actress armed with a collection of peculiar toys smashes Ibsen’s masterpiece and reassembles it into a vibrant, new theatrical event that asks, “Have we really left the Doll’s House?” Fringe favorite EgoPo, known for their bold reinventions of classic plays, presents a Nora like you’ve never seen her before. Maula also pays all of the other characters, along with her beat up collection of toys and one large doll house.

Vagabond Acting Troupe is known most locally for their extensive children’s theater training program, and the troupe was recently named number one on the PHL 17 Hotlist for their efforts training children and presenting children’s work. For 21 years, though, the company has also focused on edgy adult works.

“We were originally founded to explore theater on the edge, and we always come back to that even when training our students,” McCulloch says.

“The 14-year-old actress provides a great example to Vagabond Acting Troupe’s students,” she explains, “that if you really want to go for it, you can go for it now – and that if you want to be a theater artist, you need to stand on the creative edge.”

The Philadelphia Weekly review succinctly explains how the classic work translates for a modern teenage girl: “Geffers’ production raises a number of troubling concerns about the many challenges faced by teenage girls in a society that remains obsessed with physical beauty.”

“We’re really hoping that local audiences turn out for this so that we can begin bringing more innovative works like this to our local stages,” concludes McCulloch, who notes that Vagabond, a multiple Barrymore Award nominated company, tends to take their adult works downtown. “We’d like to start reversing the trip, and bring more adult works back to our home stage.”

The show runs Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. for one show only. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The Arts House is located at 30 Fairview Road, Honey Brook. Information can be found both on the Vagabond Acting Troupe’s group, on their page and at their website, www.vagabondactingtroupe.org.

The low ticket prices at the Arts House, home of Vagabond Acting Troupe, are offered as part of the Vagabond mission to develop a new, young audience for live theatrical works in our region. The show is made possible through the generous support of Twin Valley Coffee and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. To find a direct link for the production go to the Vagabond Acting Troupe’s website, www.vagabondactingtroupe.org.

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