Welcome back folks, to my blog episode 6 out of 10!
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to chat with Ron Sossi, The Odyssey Theatre’s Artistic Director. My first question for him- “How have you managed to keep a small theatre company running for forty-five years?” I was delighted to listen to stories that ranged from the inception of the Odyssey to present day. Two things really stuck with me. The first: Eclecticism. Ron has made a point to keep audiences on its toes by exploring a wide range of shows and genres. A guest will never know what to expect – an escapist musical one month and the next, an expressionistic Polish play. It’s quite a risk to have such variety in a season. Being on the forefront of theatre requires bold, edgy choices, so naturally there is sometimes no telling whether a show will be a success, or flop miserably. As Ron stated, some audiences really appreciate the randomness, while others would rather have consistency. That… is what sets the Odyssey apart, and is part of its charm as well. I greatly respect the choice to always be changing, growing and ultimately, eclectic.
The second thing that I found interesting was the choice to ditch the format of a member dues-paying company, which is popular in Los Angeles. By keeping The Odyssey private and season play selections curated completely from within, the quality of work completely rests on the staff. Ron Sossi & Beth Hogan have made a commitment to make sure actors are well-rehearsed, sets have been fully fleshed out and directors/designers/actors are at the top of their game. I also received a plethora of good advice and information from Ron during our conversation, which I am extremely grateful for. The passion that this company has really shows and I am lucky to be a part of it; even if it is for a short ten-week stint. Until next time! Be creative!