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Arts & Culture

The Aesthetic of Waste Meets AtticRep For 'A Burden of Possibility'

Photo: ESSENTIALS210, License: N/A


Libby Mattingsley as the female lead in White

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Director Rick Frederick with props

Sedillo is genuinely funny and stands out in an ensemble that prides itself on “serious things.”

With this in mind, I wonder if people ... well, you know, get what they do.

“At least 30 percent of the time,” says El Paso native Judson Rose who’s wearing a camouflage chef hat and also holding a plastic sword in a down-with-bedtime-forever sort of defiance. He’s the self-taught guitarist, singer, writer and actor of the group. Although he wants to keep the company accessible he doesn’t want it to “pander.”

This new production isn’t in danger of that.

White grew out of two classic French literary works: Candide by Voltaire (1759) and The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942).

On the exterior, a whole show inspired by these two particular works, which satirized and deconstructed popular philosophies of their respective eras, seems pretty pedantic.

Shannon Bishop, 24, who takes the reins of marketing and administration, is the only member of the group who did not attend Trinity, but instead, St. Edward’s University in Austin.

“Their work is very intellectual. There are a lot of obscure references,” she acknowledges. “Sort of like jokes for theater kids.”

Oh, good, so it wasn’t just me thinking that.

“We are not adapting Candide or The Stranger,” says Voelker with a dash of reprobation. “We derived certain elements from both books.” His legs are crossed and his arms are folded and, unless he is responding a question, his head hangs low through most of the interview as if trapped in deep contemplation.

“Would these stories be recognizable in the play?” I ask.

“In some instances, yes.”

And then he lowers his head again.

“A lot of us are just as lost as Candide is in his bizarre world hundreds of years ago,” says Larson whose uncommonly gifted speaking voice would be worth the ticket price alone. “This is just insight into how this generation feels and this is how our group’s generation is responding to the world that’s been created for us.”

To Rose’s left is Abigail Entsminger, who is the group’s prop mistress and choreographer. She also takes on “the animal and monster roles.” She plays a mean spider, I’m told. She and Larson spent a summer in Oxford, England, and saw 15 Shakespeare and Marlowe plays in six weeks; an influence which may have contributed to their love of classic theater.

After I’ve gotten to hear from all six members, Frederick introduces me to guest collaborator Libby Mattingsley, 26, who’s been sitting in the theater, quietly observing from a distance.

“I got to meet these kids about three weeks ago and was lucky enough to be brought in on the project,” she says. “I schmoozed my way in, essentially, over a glass of fine Bourbon.”

True story.

Mattingsley plays the female lead opposite Larson. The rest of the cast makes up the remaining 19 characters.

“This level of awareness that we have [today] lends itself to this ‘What is it that we do?’ ... ‘How are we going to be happy?’” she says. Although only a few years older than the average age in the room, she seems like the group’s Liesl von Trapp, the eldest of The Sound of Music’s singing family.

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