Apr 3, 2006

Compelling Evidence

The Evidence Room is closing down. I don't have time at the moment to comment on it extensively. Suffice to say it makes me very, very sad. I cherish my memories at this venerable location, both as a critic and as a performer, as highly as any I've had in the theater, anywhere. (I don't even mind that I was once mugged in front of the theater—I think I can break my silence on that now, don't you think?)

Here's the message, in its entirety, from Bart DeLorenzo:
Dear Friends --

Please forgive this group email, but I have some sad news and it'll probably be in the papers soon and trickling out, and I don't have time to talk to everyone, but I wanted you all to know.

The Evidence Room company will open its final production in the current space in May. Yes, unbelievably yes, our final show. As some of you may know, for several months the theater company has been struggling. Although our last season was our most successful ever, both critically and financially, there have been leadership issues that have made progress difficult. And suddenly, over the past two weeks, we found ourselves in the middle of an irreconcilable lease dispute. By mutual consent and with respect, we all decided to end the relationship between the Evidence Room company and the space that we have called our home for the past six years. The landlords have generously allowed the theater to carry out our planned spring production, but we will depart by July 31st.

Because the news is so sudden, we do not yet know whether we will seek a new home or disband the organization, but the current idea is to plan a fantastic closing event, absorb the new situation, and when we are ready, announce what is to be.

As I look back over the past eleven years and all that we have accomplished with an initial investment of $15,000, all the artists that we have worked with (so many of you), all the new work that we have brought to life, and the scene that we have struggled to create for a certain kind of theater in Los Angeles, I feel pretty good. But then I also think about all the plays I was still hoping that we might get to (so many of you, too), the many other mind-blowing artists who might have joined us, and how much work still remains in raising the caliber and profile of Los Angeles theater, and I feel nipped in the bud. And really sad.

I do not yet know what I will do personally, but I want to continue to work in my super-cool adopted city of Los Angeles, which has been so good to me over the years, in this great sprawling family of artists and raconteurs.

If you write back, please know that I'm probably not going to be able to respond for awhile. This sudden turn of events has added many new chores to my already maxed daily list, but I will respond when I can.

So at your next meal, please raise a glass to the Evidence Room, if you care to. And make plans to come to a great closing firecracker of a party in July. And in between, please come to our last production in our home, before we have to leave. It opens the last week of May. We're doing my favorite play, THE CHERRY ORCHARD.

My love,



Bonnie said...

Nooooooooooo. :(

Anonymous said...

I'd really love for you to reveal that this is all a big April Fools prank.

There goes my favorite theatre in the whole darned city.

Paul Birchall said...

It's not the first time Evidence Room has moved, though. The first actual "Evidence Room" was in that old warehouse off of Fairfax and Venice, remember? So there's no real reason to sound the death gong yet. My bet is that Bart will find another home for the company. At least, that's where I'm putting my money.