Coming to Providence this April, OUT LOUD Theatre presents Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros”. OUT LOUD Theatre, which is co-founded by University of Rhode Island alums Marc Tiberiis II and Kira Hawkridge, has made collaboration a main event to audiences around the country.

Upon graduating in 2012, Hawkridge’s involvement with the University’s theatre department really helped shape her confidence and encouraged her to find her own voice through a well-rounded Theatre Arts education.

According to Hawkridge, OUT LOUD originally started in 2009 with a core group of URI students from her graduating class.

“We wanted to continue to work together over the summer,” Hawkridge said. “And (we) decided forming a Troupe would be a great way to accomplish that.”

Courtesy of: Justine M. Johnson
Courtesy of: Justine M. Johnson

The group had support from URI’s Providence Campus and from Salve Regina University, which allowed them to use their space for practice and test their talents as a group. In 2012 after Hawkridge graduated, OUT LOUD kicked off full time.

Marc Tiberiis II (Tech Director) and Hawkridge (Artistic Director) teamed up and launched a series of test projects around Rhode Island through 2013, which became their “Season 1”.

“We learned a lot from that Season,” she said, “and were able to re-focus and truly define our overall aesthetic and vision. “Season 2” operated purely on artistic-partnerships and grants that were offered to our Troupe.”

These sponsorships allowed the two to put themselves on the map and make a name for themselves in the community through the generosity and collaborative spirit of the folks who reached out and provided them with resources, support and funding.

This year will mark OUT LOUD’s 3rd Season, which opened with “Fefu & Her Friends”, a show that had completely sold out, and consequently had to include an extended weekend due to popular demand.

This spring’s “Rhinoceros” is a well known absurdist play written by Eugene Ionesco and tackles big themes with big laughs through his “outrageous comedy.” The play explores blind conformity, totalitarianism, and death according to Hawkridge.

“It asks us to question the boundaries of our own humanity,” she said. “As we watch this unlikely protagonist, Berenger (played by Marc Tiberiis II), push right up against those boundaries first hand.”

Hawkridge, the cast and crew are very excited to share this story, told in this way, with audiences.

“I think there is a lot to look forward to,” she said. “Particularly the way we have chosen to reconfigure and re-imagine the space, design elements, and overall mode of storytelling. We have embraced the elements of transformation through every facet of this production.”

The cast makes up a great mix of URI Theatre Alumni and current students. The cast features 2013 URI Theatre Graduate, Sarah Leach, who is not only acting but also collaborating as a sound designer; Joshua Christensen, Class of 2012; and current students Erika Rethron, Emma Sachetti and Chris LaChapelle (Class of 2015, who will all be graduating this May).“They are fearless and up for anything” said Hawkridge.

Hawkridge’s overall hope for this performance is that this unconventional theatrical experience will not only get audiences thinking, but actively questioning.

“Rhinoceros” will be performed at The Mathewson Street Theater, in Providence, April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15.