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Photo by Frank Prager
Geoff Callaway, Caleb King, Sue Ellen Coughtry, Chrissy Calkins Steele and John O’Hagan of the Bankside Repertory Theatre Company. The group will perform Sept. 8-17 at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.
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Members of Bankside Repertory Theatre Company in costume from last year’s Christmas season performance.
ALTON — There is a connectedness between the performers and the audience in live theater you don’t experience at the movies or watching television. When the actors are experienced professionals, that relationship becomes exceptional.
A seasoned professional theater ensemble will bring that experience to the Jacoby Arts Center the next two weeks when the Bankside Repertory Theatre Company performs “Who Am I This Time? (& Other Conundrums Of Love).”
The theater company consists of Caleb King, Geoff Callaway, John O’Hagan, Chrissy Calkins Steele and Sue Ellen Coughtry. The team of actors came up with the idea of forming the theater company several years ago when they worked together at Principia College. This season is their second performing together.
All the group’s members are theater veterans and bring impressive credentials to their craft. They have worked in theater for decades throughout the United States and have degrees and teaching experience from prominent universities across the country. Their resumés include major productions from coast to coast.
In addition to their other activities, the troupe serves as the resident professional theater company for the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton. They explain the center was looking for this type of group and asked Bankside to do performances there.
“It was wonderful timing,” Callaway says.
Bankside strives to give performances with an interesting message. The group’s mission statement notes they want to provide audiences with a healing perspective of their lives and the world around them, encourage engagement with the arts and provide quality theater productions that are affordable and accessible.
“Theater can make you look at your life differently,” O’Hagan said. “It can be uplifting and thought-provoking at the same time.”
Bankside focuses strongly on their performances’ content and quality, and they note the Jacoby Arts Center is particularly well-suited for their performances. The intimate setting allows the small performance group to connect with their audiences.
The group notes good acting appears effortless, but the amount of work that goes into a production can be astounding. It takes Bankside about three weeks to prepare for a performance. King says being able to quickly create top-tier productions is a result of the experienced, professional actors involved.
The upcoming play is based on early stories by Kurt Vonnegut. Critics characterize it as “a delightful, lyrical piece of love and simpler times … delivering just the right amount of fun.” Callaway describes it as an enjoyable comedy focusing on love.
Bankside typically does four performances a year and will be doing a production in December for the Christmas season, also at Jacoby.
“Who Am I This Time?” will be presented Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Sept. 8-10 and Sept. 15-17, with each show starting at 7:30 p.m. The admission price is $10 for the Thursday performances and $15 for Friday and Saturday performances. Food and beverages are available at the performances.
Tickets can be purchased at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway in Alton, or by calling the venue at (618) 462-5222. Tickets will also be available at the door the nights of the performances. For information, visit banksiderep.org.