Capital Stage starts its 2011—2012 season in a larger space

A theater company six years in the making will start this year’s play season on Oct. 7 at a new location–the Old Armoury on J Street in the heart of Midtown.

Capital Stage, which for the last six years has been tucked away inside the Delta King in Old Sacramento, has been relocated to a space that not only provides the theater company more space but also allows it to establish its identity.

“Even though we had been working [on the Delta King] for years and winning awards for our work, the bulk of the community still had no idea who we were,” said the company’s founding director Stephanie Gularte. “Now we’ve got this amazing storefront presence.”

This year’s season will start on Oct. 7, 2011 with the comedy Superior Donuts, the story of an owner of a poorly kept donut shop in uptown Chicago whose work ethic is challenged by the spunk of a new employee. It will feature a nine-person cast, which Gularte considers large for the company.

This is a busy time for Capital Stage, with the start of the season just around the corner. Nonetheless Submerge managed to finagle a chat with Gularte over the phone in the midst of her busy schedule.

The company has placed great emphasis on producing bold, innovative and intimate plays since its inception in 2005. In fact it’s engrained in their mission statement. They must be doing something right: last year the company received five stars for its entire season of plays from the Sacramento News and Review.

“We believe live theater is such a communal experience and opportunity for our audience and artists to have an experience together that is really kind of elevating, that goes beyond just entertainment,” Gularte said. “We like to explore strong ideas and try and create an experience for the audience that is memorable and provocative.”

This experience is partially created by providing the audience an opportunity for introspection as members of society, in a sense holding up an invisible mirror to reveal human reality.

“We have so many opportunities to be alone and be behind our computers at a safe distance,” she said, “But live theater particularly gives us the opportunity to do work that is thought-provoking and challenging, [and] provides an opportunity for a more visceral and community experience around that introspection.”

The desire to provide this unique experience is what brought Gularte and partners Jonathan Williams and Peter Mohrmann together to begin Capital Stage back in 2005.

Up to that point, although she was living in Sacramento working as an actress, Gularte found that the plays she found most provocative and interesting were those she was working on in the Bay Area.

Rather than relocating to the Bay Area, Gularte made it her mission to bring provocative theater to Sacramento. Thus, with the cooperation of likeminded individuals Williams and Mohrmann, Capital Stage was born.

This season’s string of plays should not disappoint. The plays are expected to be just as thought-provoking and introspective, Gularte said, if not more so.

They also all have a very American vibe, she said, and are what she considers to be American theater at its best. Several of which include the work of groundbreaking playwrights of the last couple of decades.

“This is an important time in our culture to see who we really are as a nation and where we come from and where we’re going,” she said.

After Superior Donuts, the season will continue with a diverse set of plays that include subject matter ranging from the Iraq War to a scientist’s wife in the 1800s.

With higher ceilings and a larger stage area, the new location is allowing the company to add more creativity to their sets and cast more actors. The seating capacity is also increased by 15 percent from the old location.

The hope is that with the new space, Capital Stage will also attract new audience members.

”We have a really smart, dynamic, passionate audience base and I just want more of those folks,” Gularte said. “I look for opportunities to surprise our audiences and take our subscribers in particular, who commit to the entire season with us, on a real journey.”

For those who are all too eager to see what the upcoming season brings, Capital Stage will be performing sneak previews of Superior Donuts as well as a new, one-woman show that the company will debut at Midtown Modern Arts Festival on Oct. 15. And for those needing an excuse to celebrate, the company will hold its opening gala on Oct. 21.

Capital Stage’s Superior Donuts will be in previews from Oct. 7—14 , 2011 and officially open Saturday, Oct. 15 with a run that will last through Nov. 13. More information and tickets can be found at Don’t forget to catch Capital Stage members in action at Midtown Modern Arts Festival on Oct. 15. Event is free, starts at 12 p.m. and is taking place on 20th Street in between J and K streets.