This past Friday night, I had a chance to go see the opening performance of Breakthrough Theatre’s rendition of RENT. For those of you who don’t know of the Breakthrough Theatre (which included me up until last week), it’s a small community theatre located in the heart of Winter Park on Fairbanks just down the street from Park Ave. and Rollins College. I’ve likely driven by the theatre hundreds of times unknowingly. When I say small….I mean small. It seats roughly 30 people and the stage is smaller than some people’s master bathrooms. Everything about it screams community theatre. The same guy that owns the theatre is the same guy that takes your ticket, sells you a drink in their little concession stand and also does the opening welcome before the play begins.
As for the actual play, I found it to be extremely entertaining. Rent is a great story of friends and fellow squatters living in New York City in the late 1990s. You follow them over the course of a year tackling topics of homosexuality, aids, love, death, and freedom of speech. Even with the limited space and assets of the actual stage and theatre, the performers were still able to capture theme of the play. The performers use every bit of the theatre and are often running through the aisles, in and out every available door and keep you engaged. The various individual performances vary as you can see some are definitely more refined than others but as a cast it seemed to come together for what it is…a small community theatre on a limited budget. So if you’re theatre fan, a RENT fan, or just looking for something different to do on a weekend night, I’d suggest giving this a try.