New Olde Bank Players move Downtown

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New Olde Bank Theatre has made a big move and it's a name-changer -- it's now the Smithfield Street Theatre, featuring the New Olde Bank Players. The company opens a new season in a new home on Friday, when it gets "Reckless" at Smithfield United Church of Christ, Downtown.

The company had resided in Verona, performing 30 shows since 2008. Its mission remains the same, said co-founder and artistic director Sean Michael O'Donnell. "Our mission is to do intelligent, thought-provoking pieces. I always think of our selections as a little bit left of center, and we're also trying to do shows a lot of smaller theaters wouldn't touch."

For openers, he will direct "Reckless," a dark comedy by Craig Lucas. The story is sure to send shivers through August: Rachel finds her life upended on Christmas Eve when her husband announces he has taken a contract out on her life. She escapes with a social worker and his severely disabled wife, but the trio's tranquil existence dissolves the following Christmas.

When the group moved to a church auditorium, subject matter was discussed. "They were very open with what we would do and supportive of what we've done in the past," Mr. O'Donnell said. "We've done material that leans toward issues of social justice, like 'The Laramie Project' and 'My Name Is Rachel Corrie.' This particular church is active in those type of issues, so it's a very good mesh."

"Reckless," with set and design by Todd Collar, will run 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Aug. 10-11 at Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield St. Tickets are $15 at www.newobt.com or $18 at the door. More information: 412-251-7904.

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