“The Home of the Now”: PRIME theatre company debuts in November

<p style="text-align:center;" ​Great art doesn’t always require patience. Sometimes it springs to life, fully formed, in just one day.

The Beatles blazed through the recording of their debut album, Please Please Me, in a feverish 13 hours. Pablo Picasso painted “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur” in one day in 1932 – and it later sold for a record $106.5 million.

So who needs patience in theatre? PRIME, a brand new St. Louis theatre company, wants to see what it can create on the stage in only 24 hours.

Beginning with its debut production next month, PRIME will unite a diverse collection of writers, directors, actors and designers and give them 24 hours to create a thematically linked festival of six new plays. PRIME is the first theatre company in St. Louis to focus exclusively on 24-hour new play festivals, with the aim to produce four each year beginning in 2017.

PRIME’s mission is to create raw, welcoming, and unorthodox theatre for all, encapsulating the ephemeral while encouraging community engagement.

PRIME’s first project, The Transmigration Show, will arrive at 8 p.m. November 5 at Southampton Presbyterian Church (4716 Macklind Avenue). Tickets are $10 at the door.

Transmigration (or reincarnation) is the belief that the soul does not die with the body, but begins a new life in cyclic existence. In the course of six shows, this trippy play festival will follow two characters (“twin flames”) as they pass through this cycle.

The night before the festival, six writers will receive a different reason for reincarnation (such as unfinished business or the fulfillment of debt), and each will pen a script based on this prompt by dawn. The next morning, six directors and six casts will arrive to bring these works to life by the evening. While each play will bring its own style and voice to the festival, together they’ll function as a cohesive whole – like a great concept album instead of six single songs.

In addition to the onstage performances, the Transmigration Show will integrate inspirational artwork from visual artists. Participants hail from all over the country – including St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.

So who’s bringing this crazy karmic circus together? PRIME is the brainchild of Andrea Standby (artistic director) and Kyle Kratky(managing director).

Standby is a theatrical “jane-of-all-trades,” bringing a multifaceted background that includes direction (Black Dirt Theater in Hastings, MN), production design (Ignite Theatre Company in St. Louis) and stage management (R-S Theatrics in St. Louis). Kratky was the co-founder of the Immediacy Theatre Project, a St. Louis company that produced 24-hour new play festivals and other projects from 2002 to 2008.

Standby and Kratky came together with a shared vision of creating some hand-crafted weirdness to round out St. Louis’ traditional theatre scene.

“St. Louis has an awesome community of DIY artists,” Kratky says. “So when we were first talking about PRIME, the question was how can we use our favorite art form, theatre, to bring these people together to create really wild but accessible stories that connect very deeply with people? We wanted it produced in a way that creates urgency and pressure cooks the art. So a 24-hour festival made sense for that reason.”

For more information on PRIME, visit facebook.com/primetheatrestl or call (314) 884-1647.

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