FP Exclusive: New Little Rock Theater Group 'Precipice' Prepares For First Performance - Arkansas Free Press
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FP Exclusive: New Little Rock Theater Group 'Precipice' Prepares For First Performance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tracy Crain   

When local, live theater greats Ricco Ardemagni, Evan Tanner, and Heather Smith worked together in the CTLR production of a “A Few Good Men” earlier this year, they knew they wanted the opportunity to work together again and a chance to have more say in the type of plays being produced on the local scene.

In an effort to bring those dreams to fruition, they started a new theatre group called “Precipice,” that will serve Central Arkansas residents.

“Little Rock seems to be teeming with incredible, untapped theatre talent. There are several wonderful and incredibly hardworking local theatre groups in Little Rock,” Heather Smith said.

She, however, comes from a formal theatre background. With that said, she feels strongly that the new group fills a current void in the local area and that the new group will allow for theater from a “slightly different approach.”

“After meeting and working with some genuinely gifted actors that were on the same page, a handful of us decided to take the reins and mount our very own production.

As an actor, you generally don't have any decision in the material you ultimately perform, and the prospect of having a voice in that respect is quite exciting,” Smith said. “…we are so ridiculously blessed to have an incredible wealth of theatre education and experience between us (founding members) to share with one another. I guess you could call us an ‘Actor's Co-Op,’ except we are swapping production techniques and our collective theatre educations instead of organic vegetables.”

The new group will feature veteran actors from Central Arkansas as well as actors from both coasts, formally educated through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Stanford, Pepperdine University, The Howard Fine Studio, The National Theatre in London and The University of Edinburgh…just to name a few.

“We can't wait to meet other people who share the same passion for theatre! It is most definitely a collaborative experience, and everyone involved has a valid say in every single aspect of the work we are doing together,” Smith said. “The play we are currently in production for is Sam Sheperd's arguably most famous play, ‘Fool For Love.’”

It will showcase at The Public Theatre in Little Rock Nov. 10-13, 2011. There are six shows. (Two performances, respectively, on the Friday and Saturday night!)

“We chose this particular play because not only did it provide an incredible challenge, it is simply a damn good play to watch. Sam Shepard is one of America’s finest playwrights. He has won the Obie Award (11 times), the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and Outer Critics Circle Award, and has been inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame for his achievements as a playwright, screenplay writer and actor,” Smith said. “Ironically, he happens to be shooting a movie down the road here in Arkansas this very moment, called "Mud," although we had absolutely no clue of that delightful fact when we selected it.”

She continued, “Unfortunately, scheduling didn’t allow Evan Tanner to act or direct in ‘Fool For Love,’ but he was very much involved in the conception of the project. He absolutely plans to continue to be a part of Precipice Theatre as we move forward.”

Smith says both Tanner and Ardemagni are strong, driving forces behind the group’s success.

“He (Ardemagni) played the lead, Lt. Kaffee, in "A Few Good Men." His involvement with Precipice and his commitment to it blows me away. Not only has he been onboard since day one, he is playing the lead in ‘Fool For Love,’ handles business aspects of our troupe, and has generously offered the use of his personal business and warehouse, where we rehearse and collaborate,” Smith said. “We couldn't possibly do any of this without him, and I wanted to make sure that came across clearly. I’m kind of the loudmouth of the team, where he is much more laid back and chill. He is definitely his own force to be reckoned with, however!”

About Fool For Love

The play is about the volatile Love/Hate relationship between battling on-off again lovers in a dilapidated, broken-down motel in the Mojave desert. It is a modern Western of sorts. It has an incredible twist that leaves the audience downright mind-boggled.

The cast is as follows:

Old Man - Jerry Rice

Eddie - Ricco Ardemagni

May- Heather D. Smith

Martin - Terry Harrison

Directors - Paul Seminara, Aaron Berg

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