New Theater Co. Would Stage Shows In The Back Of A U-Haul

By Gwendolyn Purdom in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 12, 2016 5:58PM

Between the tiny house craze visiting our city this week and plans for microapartment complexes popping up around the city, it’s clear that small is chic. Truck Truck Theater is taking that concept and literally rolling with it.

The new start-up from Chicago theater scene vets Fareine Suarez and Cory O’Brien aims to bring theater to the masses by putting on their low-tech productions from the back of a U-Haul truck. The two launched a Kickstarter campaign to support Truck Truck's mission in mid-July and have since already surpassed their modest $1,000 funding goal.

The idea struck O'Brien back in April, according to Suarez, when he realized a set he'd built for another production would go to waste after the production's one-time performance. He and Suarez decided to get creative with repurposing the pieces. Suarez says Truck Truck's model is designed to accomplish two main goals: cutting traditional production costs so actors and crew can receive payment (unfortunately not always a given in the theater community), and offering free performances to communities that don't usually have access to theater.

"There’s an entire segment of the population, especially here in Chicago, who can’t go to shows because that money could go to groceries," Suarez told Chicagoist Friday.

Suarez, who works full-time for the city's Grant Park Music Festival, says she was inspired by Chicago's summer schedule of free outdoor events and loves the idea of being able to put on a show in a neighborhood or an alley without sacrificing its quality.

For Truck Truck's debut production, the company's chosen Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit," a story about a version of hell that consists of just a room (or truckbed, in this case) and three people locked in it. The show is set to premiere in September in Jefferson Park. Suarez says if funding continues to come in, they hope to put on an encore performance within a week of the first. From there, she says, the new company will evaluate what's needed moving forward. If all goes well, next summer Truck Truck plans to put on a new show with a longer run.

"A lot of the project right now is kind of a test to see what we need to focus on," Suarez said, "and what people respond to."