Founded in 2007 by Tamarie Cooper and Jason Nodler, formerly of the late, lamented Infernal Bridegroom Productions, the Catastrophic Theatre is Houston's standard bearer for avant-garde drama and comedy. In keeping with their egalitarian ethos, the company has a long-standing pay-what-you-can policy. But just because you can get away with paying one dollar doesn't mean you should: in fact, Catastrophic suggets a $25 ticket price, which still make it among the cheapest in town. Even $25 isn't enough to cover the full cost of the production, of course, but it certainly helps. And if you want to pay a littlemore than $25 for some of the most vital theater in Houston, nobody's going to stop you.
For the theater set, August means it’s time for Tamarie Cooper to take center stage at the Catastrophic Theatre. This year marks the 17th installment of Cooper’s musical comedy series, and this one might very well be the perfect introduction to the series for the uninitiated. A Very Tamarie Christmas is a big-hearted, fun-spirited laugh-fest that critiques the three-month marathon of food, family, and frenzied shopping that we know as the holiday season.
Although the subject matter might seem depressing, even the darkest play can be enjoyable if it’s well-executed, and even the peppiest play can be depressing if it’s a theatrical failure. Let’s just say that I leftclean/through with a smile on my face.
Since 1996, actress Tamarie Cooper has been writing and starring in annual summer musicals based on her life, first with Infernal Bridegroom and more recently with its successor, The Catastrophic Theatre (of which Cooper is the Associate Director). Tamarie Cooper’s Old as Hell!, which opens on Friday night, is the sixteenth musical in a series that also includes The Tamarie Cooper Show, The United States of Tamarie, and Tamarie Cooper’s DOOMSDAY REVUE.
Two William Blake scholars, inspired by Blake’s poetry, decide to make love in public, an act that occurs before the curtain rises. Mickle Maher’s play There is a Happiness That Morning Is begins with two lectures in rhymed verse, one by each of the offending academics, who must decide whether to apologize for their actions or lose tenure. When the Catastrophic Theatre first staged the play in 2011, it received rave reviews and sold out its nine-week run. Now the play is back with its original cast (Amy Bruce, Troy Schulze, and Kyle Turdivant) and director (Jason Nodler).
Houstonia spoke with Troy Schulze and Jason Nodler by phone today.