by Frank Lewis
The Bang and the Clatter Theater is not packing it in, as Scene theatre critic Christine Howey heard from co-director Sean McConaha earlier this month, but the company is proceeding on what he describes as “a show by show” basis.
McConaha had called Howey to tell her a production of John Kolvenback’s On An Average Day, scheduled to open August 7 at the Akron venue, was canceled, and that the theater was going to suspend operations. “The business issues are a tax credit we didn’t get, the foundations are dried up, and audiences are smaller,” McConaha said.
The tax credit he’s referring to, for adaptation of a historic building for their new Sometimes in the Silence theater on Euclid at East 4th Street, would have amounted to $130,000 to $140,000, McConaha said.
“When we opened last April, we expected to get that money. It wasn’t if but when,” he explained.
Bang and Clatter’s pace of eight Ohio premiere productions per year had earned critical acclaim and generated buzz enough to get their Cleveland space rent free from developer MRN LTD. The theater company had to pay construction costs, and the project’s $700,000 budget was bolstered by a $250,000 loan from the City of Cleveland. But Bang and Clatter was not incorporated in Cuyahoga County in time to qualify for an operating grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
Without the money they expected from the tax credit, they’re left living show-to-show: “We’re just going to try to just basically pay for the next show with money from this show,” McConaha said.
That next play, Adam Rapp’s Bingo with the Indians (which happens to be about a cash-strapped theater company) is scheduled to open Thursday at Sometimes in the Silence Theatre (224 Euclid Ave., 330.606.5317). — Michael Gill