By Lauren Reiniger
The 16th Street Theater’s production of “Broken Fences” has extended its run because of high demand for tickets. It was scheduled to close Oct. 26, but is extended to Nov. 9.
But the theater won’t be making money off this box-office bonanza. To date, the box office sold 1,079 tickets and made $14,842. The theater only has 49 seats and four shows a week. This production cost the theater $28,000, excluding staff salaries, according to Artistic Director Ann Filmer.
“We are grateful individuals and foundations have donated to bridge the gap between income from ticket sales and what is actually costs us to produce a play. Because we are dedicated to keeping our theater affordable, we don’t want to raise ticket prices above our current $18,” said Filmer.
Set in Chicago, “Broken Fences” is about a white couple who move in next door to an African-American couple in a transitional neighborhood. It’s a story that utilizes heartbreak and humor and focuses on the themes of racism, displacement and community.
Filmer wanted to stage this play since 2009. She has known playwright Steven Simoncic since 2004, and was finally able to produce and direct this play with Ilesa Duncan from Pegasus Players.
Filmer first called Duncan to ask her to direct the play, but Duncan proposed to direct together.
Filmer said it was a challenge.
“I can honestly say I was scared to death. How is this done? Who takes the lead when? We had to face each other every day,” Filmer said. “As we got deeper into the process, it was so clear we needed both of our perspectives in the room. It became a richer production by having two directors.”
The 16th Street Theater is located at 6420 16th St. in Berwyn. Tickets are available online at http://wp.16thstreettheater.org.