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Rude Guerrilla to close next month

February 4, 2009 |  4:30 pm

Dave Barton, Rude Guerrilla artistic director On second thought, Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company has decided it would rather not spend the next eight months as a lame duck and will sing a March swan song instead.

After previously saying it would complete its 2009 season before splintering into two new stage companies, the Orange County group, which launched in 1997, will call it a day after its next round of two concurrently running plays.

With the bad economy biting into attendance and donations, and the lease running out in March on its 60-seat space in downtown Santa Ana, it made sense to shut down the theater instead of carrying on with the six additional plays that had been scheduled through September, board member Sharyn Case says. Case is part of a group that aims to stay put and emerge in the fall under a new name, with a somewhat less hard-edged style. She said the group would rather use the time to prepare for what comes next. "You can't run a full-time theater while planning a new theater at the same time."

Artistic director and co-founder Dave Barton says he is scouting sites for his new company, Monkey Wrench Collective, which aims to open in October or November with a focus on the edgy, politicized, seldom-for-the-squeamish aesthetic that has been a Rude Guerrilla hallmark.

Barton will direct one of the finales, the Feb. 13-March 21 U.S. premiere of "Love and Money," by British playwright Dennis Kelly. Meanwhile, "A Number," by Caryl Churchill, will have its L.A./O.C. premiere as a "second stage" presentation, Feb. 21-March 22.

Kelly's play, Barton says, is about "a couple who get in over their heads in debt and their relationship implodes. I don't think we've ever worked on a play more timely than this one, and I'm damn proud to be ending on it."

—Mike Boehm

Photo: Artistic director Dave Barton outside Rude Guerrilla's storefront theater in 1999. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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