All in the Family

New theater troupe finds cohesion through acting
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Let’s set the scene: 3rd Act Theatre Company is a new nonprofit with a mission to bring quality theater to the metro area. In addition to its “Drunk Classics” series that is performed in local breweries and wineries, the troupe also aims to provide a unique theatergoing experience by showcasing a wide selection of plays, from popular classics to more obscure selections, in its permanent location in The Shoppes at Northpark, 12100 N May.

“We wanted to provide a place for everyone,” says Amandanell Bold, founding president and acting artistic director.

Not only does the organization seek to reach a wider audience through place, as Bold put it, it also provides a sense of place for the troupe. “With so many of us, (community theater) is having a chosen family. Our first season was themed ‘family’ because of that. For us, it’s really finding a place to be.”

An influential part of this “chosen family” is Madge Fields, the designated “Theater Mom” – she even has a nameplate with that title – of 3rd Act Theatre Company.

Fields’ “Mom” duties incorporate a range of tasks, from building up and tearing down sets to running the box office and donating props and set pieces. “I always find at least one or two things on the set that came from my house,” Fields says.

Starting a new company and converting a jewelry store into a theater was already a challenge requiring 12-hour work days. Then COVID-19 burst onto the scene. Open communication with all cast and crew members led to precautions that included sterilizing props between each use, spraying disinfectant in the front and back between performances and recording or streaming certain shows, Bold said.

“They have worked so hard and have done such a good job of doing what they could with the resources that are available,” says Fields. “They’re all brilliant at what they do, and they try to think outside the box.”

The second season, themed “power,” is perhaps a nod to the fortitude of the company and its intention for the seasons to come. In addition to extra sanitizing and virtual streaming of select shows, the company is mandating masks or face shields for the audience, cast and crew. This places an extra burden on the cast, who rely on facial expressions and breath work to perform, but the company is getting creative with see-through masks.

In spite of the necessary restrictions, the company intends to bring the community into its family. With titles such as The Odd Couple, Frankenstein, Medusa Undone and Heartbreak House, the second season aims to be a memorable one for everyone.

General admission is $25 with discounts for seniors, students, military members, first responders and educators. Season tickets range from $80 to $150. For more information, visit 3rdActTheatreCo.com.

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