The energizing legacy of Theatre X
Actors (and married couple) John Kishline and Deborah Clifton join Mark this week to talk about Theater X, the “fringe” Milwaukee theater that generated international acclaim and produced edgy, experimental theater for 30 years before shutting down in 2004.
John and Deborah discuss the founding of Theatre X at UWM in 1969 and how they each came to the company, the years of touring with Theatre X throughout the country and in Europe and the institutionalization in the company’s later years that they say resulted in artistic degradation. But while much has been made of the decline and fall of Theatre X, John and Deborah believe that a new breed of regional fringe and DIY theater groups are carrying the torch, including Milwaukee-borne Insurgent Theatre, Madison’s Nonsense Company and Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis.
How do small, wily companies like Theatre X and Insurgent contribute to the wider ecosystem of a city’s theater community? Why do we need them? What would happen without them?
This is the second episode in our series on plays and players, largely writ, which began last week with our conversation about Brett Favre and continues next week with actor Todd Denning of First Stage Children’s Theater.