Features

Close-up and Personal: Montrose’s Living Room Theater

It’s as if the actors are in your living room…because they are!
By Barrett White

To anyone not from the area, Houston might only be thought of as the world’s energy capital or a hub of trade and commerce.

While that is certainly true, Houston’s cultural scene is often overlooked by outsiders. But on any given week within the city’s borders, you can find authentic meals from every corner of the world, witness a weekly pop-up belly-dancing performance at Agora, attend local street markets and annual festivals celebrating all sorts of things, and enjoy an unmatched live theater scene.

Considered second only to New York City’s, the Houston theater community thrives with an expansive choice of venues—everything from the Hobby Center and Tony-winning Alley Theatre downtown to the community sweetheart Theatre Southwest on 59 at Fondren, the oft-hailed Obsidian Theatre in the Heights, or even a makeshift stage on the second floor of PJ’s Sports Bar.

“Life finds a way,” and apparently so do Houston’s theater creatives. Enter Matt Hune of the Houston-based Hune Company. Hune, who resides in Montrose, has converted his own living room into an intimate 20-seat black-box theater for a series of plays appropriately titled The Living Room Series. His temporary venue is borne of the idea that live theater should be immersive, intimate, and unabashedly tangible.

“The support from the community has just been amazing,” Hune says, noting that not only have area theaters donated props, costumes, and sets to the cause, but St. Arnold Brewing Company is providing wine and beer for every performance—free of charge to Hune Company audiences.

The Living Room Series’ first production, Not Mad, a reimagined version of King Lear, was performed to sold-out audiences every night of its early-August run.

Houston theatergoers have three more chances to catch Hune’s unique brand of theater this fall. Opening on September 17 is This Is Our Youth, which transforms Hune’s Montrose living room into a 1982 Upper West Side New York apartment. In an era of gentrification, political upheaval, and the uncertainty of a new generation, This Is Our Youth spotlights a 48-hour period in the lives of New York City teens attempting to navigate an agonizing and hilarious period in their lives. “Montrose is where I call home . . .it’s very important that this story is told here,” Hune comments, referring to the district’s ever-dynamic landscape and its undeniable similarities to the home of the lives on stage.

Following This Is Our Youth in late September, The Living Room Series continues with Blackbird in late November. With a story as intimate as the setting, Blackbird will command Hune’s living room. He was roughly 40. She was only 12. Fifteen years later, emotions are raw as the two former lovers confront their long-dead affair within slapping distance of the audience.

Closing The Living Room Series is Up Close, an evening of community-submitted short works scheduled for December. Experienced writers and first-time dabblers alike are urged to submit original works (between one and 15 minutes in length) to Hune Company for consideration.

For more information on Hune Company and The Living Room Series, including performance dates, ticket pricing, and directions, visit hunecompany.com. Scripts for the Up Close production may be emailed to [email protected] The submission deadline is in November (see website for details).

Barrett White is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.

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Barrett White

Barrett White is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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