Out North Re-opens with “A Perfect Arrangement”

perfect arrangement posterAfter a two year hiatus, Out North Theater in Anchorage has re-opened. And their newest show harks back to their beginnings–raising awareness of new artists and social issues.

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“The Perfect Arrangement” starts out like the perfect 1950s sit-com. Three couples sit around a living room discussing hors-d’oeuvres and mixed drinks.

“Please everyone, eat up! If there are any of Norma’s canapes left over, I’ll eat every single one!” exclaims one character.

But the show soon takes a turn — the perfect couples have a dangerous secret. They are hiding their sexuality while others are being persecuted for that very same reason.

“Every poor bastard that you fire walks right by my desk, sobbing and destroyed,” exclaims one of the women. “And I sit there, staring at my wedding band, feeling every inch the fraud I am. And today that got to me, okay? When Oswald Mews, who you know is not a damn fag, walked out with his life in shambles, unemployable, fired for something that isn’t even true for him but is very true for us, it got me.”

Out North’s first production since their temporary closure deals with the Lavender Scare, when government employees were fired for being homosexuals. It’s being produced by Anchorage’s newest theater company, Walking Shadows. Company founder Krista Schwarting says “The Perfect Arrangement” is helping fill the gap of socially conscious productions in Anchorage. She says equal rights and treatment for LGBT community are still issues today.

“I’m still watching all of these debates happening of a marriage still being between a man and woman. Yes, we have come a ways. But we still have a ways to go.”

Out North Board President Caleb Bourgeois says the play fits the organization’s history and mission perfectly.

“Out North is this 30-year-old organization that started as an LGBT theater company, so producing plays that at that time really were not in public sphere, not in the public eye of Anchorage.”

Bourgeois says the organization took a break in 2013 because of financial troubles. The board laid off staff, reorganized and now they’re back, offering work space for artists and theater companies, and a radio station that plays local music and podcasts.

“But Out North is just special because it privileges the underdog and really gives that opportunity for the emerging artist or the underrepresented artist or person to be able to share their story and their voice.”

The west coast premiere of “The Perfect Arrangement” by Topher Payne starts in Anchorage Thursday night at Out North Contemporary Art House.

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After being told innumerable times that maybe she asked too many questions, Anne Hillman decided to pursue a career in journalism. She's reported from around Alaska since 2007 and briefly worked as a community radio journalism trainer in rural South Sudan. ahillman (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8447  |  About Anne

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