New in Lubbock: The Outpost Repertory Theatre

Jun 19, 2019

The Outpost Repertory Theatre is producing a play at the Firehouse Theatre at LHUCA. We'll have all the details on today's show!

On today's edition of The Front Row, we have as our special guest in the studio, Jesse Jou, who is assistant professor of directing here at the Texas Tech University School of Theatre and Dance. He is also the associate artistic director of the Outpost Theatre.

So tell us just a little bit about you and your background and your journey to Texas Tech.

"So I'm originally from Houston, Texas, for the first 21 years of my life, I was born and raised, went to school, went to Rice University in Houston. And then when I was turning 22, I moved up to New York City to take a job up there and also to get more involved in theatre, which is what I really loved. As I spent more time in New York, I started out as an actor and realized very quickly that I didn't like doing it. So I then moved to directing and found out I really love doing that. I was in the New York area for almost 20 years actually, before the opportunity came up to come to Texas Tech on a visiting assistant professorship in the School of Theatre and Dance. I just kind of fell in love, and they offered me the full time tenured track job and I stayed."

What's coming next for you is a production with the Outpost Repertory Theatre, of which you are the associate artistic director. Tell us a little bit about the Outpost Repertory Theater, it's still pretty new in our community. Tell us a little about its history and what it's up to.

"The Outpost Repertory Theatre is a new professional theatre company here in Lubbock. It was founded by the founding artistic director, Dean Nolen, who is the head of acting and directing at Texas Tech. What we were really interested in doing is creating a space where - you know, some of the faculty at Texas Tech are professional actors and they're members of a professional union, and so there aren't a lot of opportunities in West Texas for them to work. So we really wanted to create a theatre that would give us an opportunity to share their artistry with the Lubbock community. And also to have a place where we could make work that was closer to home, rather than having to travel all around. So that was really kind of the genesis of our theatre company. So we've really made a commitment to producing really interesting unexpected plays that may not necessarily get a lot of opportunities to be done in the West Texas region. We are in the middle of our first year of producing, and so our first show was in January, and was a wonderful show called Gloria, and now we're gearing up Tigers Be Still, which is our next show."

And just to be clear about this, Outpost Repertory Theatre is outside of the University, it is its own entity, is that correct?

"That is correct, yes. We are our own non-profit."

Right, well it sounds wonderful. Tell us now about this play that you're putting on, Tigers Be Still.

"Sure. Tigers Be Still is by a playwright named Kim Rosenstock, whom I met as a graduate student at the Yale School of Drama several years ago. She's an incredible writer, she writes a lot for television now actually. She's writing a lot of comedy for television, she's working on a few shows, New Girl, GLOW, Single Parents, so some interesting projects. Her voice is so wonderful because she just - she finds ways that people get themselves into situations that are both hilarious and painful at the same time, and she really captures that beautifully in her plays. This particular play really spoke to me, because it's about a young woman who gets her graduate degree and then comes home and doesn't know what to do with her life. Everyone I tell that pitch to, their first response to me is usually 'oh, that sounds like me.' It really occured to me that it's a really universal experience of feeling lost and not knowing what to do. I think this play does a beautiful job of giving you a comedy that says, look your life is full of possibilities, you just have to figure it out. I really wanted to bring that story to Lubbock, it was something I wanted to share with the community here."

For people who are interested, tell us where the production will take place.

"Sure, we run at the Firehouse Theatre at LHUCA from June 20th through June 30th. You can visit our website, www.outpostrep.org."