The Kent County Theatre Guild's upcoming season is chock full of laughter. The four plays on tap are all comedies, from a frenetic take on Greek mythology to a holiday show set in the third-smallest town in Texas.
Whether the economy is tanking or soaring, one thing holds true at Kent County Theatre Guild: audiences want to laugh.
That was the consensus the board came to when setting its upcoming year, titled “A Season of Laughter,” which kicks off Oct. 1 with “The Iliad, the Odyssey and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less.”
The guild gave audiences a peek at what they’re in for this season at a meet-and-greet with the directors Sept. 13 that included readings from this season’s plays.
Patti Gatto, chair of the guild’s board, said when considering what to fill the season with, they looked at ticket sales and attendance and less scientific methods of research — listening to audiences’ post-show conversations. Comedy came out on top.
As an audience member, board member and cast member, Gatto said comedy was the way to go.
“They’re shows you can really come in and relax and enjoy yourself,” she said.
Audiences will forgive you if you throw in a murder mystery or drama, she quipped.
Chris Polo has been involved with the guild since 1990, and is director of “The Iliad, the Odyssey and all of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less.” She said the season’s light fare may entice more people to frequent the guild.
“Times are kind of hard for arts organizations right now, but I think with this particular lineup we’re certainly going to do better than if we were doing a mixed season, I think,” she said.
Audiences may notice that although focusing on laughter, the guild is taking its image seriously these days. A re-vamped, user-friendly website has replaced the old one, and has added a directors’ blog for notes on productions that are in rehearsals.
Polo said the blog is another time commitment over and above rehearsals and the cast and crew’s day jobs; the guild is an all-volunteer operation. The upside is that it allows her to reach the guild members who are always interested in its happenings, and also newcomers who might want a backstage peek as to what’s going on.
“I think it’s an enhancement for the site, most definitely, and I’m hoping other directors will continue to use that,” she said.
Gatto also stressed the importance of consistent messaging, including the guild’s space on 140 E. Roosevelt Ave. The white, church-like building has had multiple names over the years. Now it’s simply the Kent County Theatre Guild.
Members who frequent the theatre to catch a show and even be involved in it might find themselves there for different events this year, not only plays, according to Gatto.
“Let’s bring the fun back over here so you come in here for more than to just work a show,” she said.
Email Sarika Jagtiani at firstname.lastname@example.org