Intimate Theater: What Supporting Quotidian Means

Steve LaRoque in QTC's production of "A Dublin Carol"
Steve LaRoque in QTC’s production of “A Dublin Carol”

by Steve LaRoque, Senior Quotidian Member

A few months ago, I was talking with a long-time Quotidian subscriber (in a situation far removed from any theater) about our then-upcoming production, A Lesson from Aloes. She told me that she had already made her reservation, and that she was looking forward to seeing “intimate theater” again.

Intimate theater. I had never thought about it much, but the Quotidian theater experience does indeed deserve to be called intimate. Our 99-seat performing space at the Writer’s Center brings you close to the play, no matter where your seat is. When I am in the audience, I usually sit no closer than the sixth row – a habit that comes from my days as a director, when I had to be sure that all my actors could make themselves heard. Even up there in the high places, I never feel that I am removed from the play – and, yes, I can hear every word.

But why is this kind of theater particularly desirable? Partly because it’s harder to find. Look almost everywhere, and you see theaters – along with everything else – getting bigger, more grandiose, with legions of lights, huge projections, and turntables that snap characters and sets into place from opposite ends of the stage. All of it clever, but does the wizardry make for a good play? Not necessarily.

In fact, in a lot of ways, low-tech, close-up shows like ours are more demanding, on both sides of the curtain. On the Quotidian stage, the audience can see just about everything, including the tiny details: the framed pictures of prize fighters on the walls of Harry Hope’s bar in The Iceman Cometh; the titles of Tesman’s beloved books on the shelves in Hedda Gabler; the football club banners on the walls of the chipper in This Lime Tree Bower. Heaven help you if you don’t get the details right; somebody will let you know. We make a point of getting them right.

David Dubov in QTC's production of "A Lesson From Aloes"
David Dubov in QTC’s production of “A Lesson From Aloes”

More importantly, an intimate setting helps the audience focus on what we all come to theater for: the characters, the lines, the story. In this respect, I will put Quotidian up against any other theater going. Think of David Dubov, as Piet Bezuidenhout in the opening scene of A Lesson from Aloes, holding an aloe plant in his hand, thumbing through his field- book, and contemplating the astounding possibility that he may have discovered a hitherto unknown species. In a scene like this, the smallest things are important: the turn of the head, a fugitive smile, the light irony in the voice as Piet tries out a Latin name for a hypothetical new species. You can savor every detail, because you are there; you could be a guest in the room. That’s intimate theater.

It’s the kind of theater that we have always tried to offer, and hope to be able to for a long time to come. No surprise, the economics of theater haven’t changed a bit: the ticket sales and subscriptions cover only a fraction of the operating expenses. And we try to keep the expenses about as low as possible. We continue to have zero – zero – full-time paid staff, so that the dollars go overwhelmingly into the productions themselves. Including every donation dollar. We only come to you once a year with our summer fundraising campaign, so please consider making a donation to Quotidian today – and be assured that you will see the results on stage, very close to wherever you happen to be sitting.

Your tax-deductible gift helps QTC give back to the DC-area community, by…

  • Offering free theater tickets to Veterans and their families via VetTix.
  • Providing discounted tickets to students, seniors, and others on fixed incomes.
  • Collaborating with Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, which has added QTC to its intern program.
  • Hiring established, outside-QTC directors Laura Giannarelli and Stevie Zimmerman.
  • Providing opportunities to rising local talents–director Michael Avolio and actors Sara Dabney Tisdale, Jenny Donovan, Jonathan Feuer, James Flanagan, Carolyn Kashner, David Mavricos, Chelsea Mayo, Zach Roberts, and Chris Stinson.
  • Enlightening patrons with free post-show discussions and dramaturg sessions for subscribers.

DC Theater Scene’s Roy Mauer in his review of The Veil honored QTC with these words about its role in the local theater community, “…distinction is due the modest playhouse on Walsh Street for arranging the U.S. premiere of The Veil right in our own Bethesda. Quotidian has now presented seven of Conor McPherson’s works, including three area premieres, a tremendous credit to the local theater scene.”

For those of you who feel the same, please help us bring affordable, downtown-quality theater to our neighborhood. We are profoundly grateful to ALL of our loyal patrons and donors. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Your tax-deductible investment in the arts also supports your community! Every Gift Makes a Difference!

Donation Levels

  • Major Stakeholder, gift of $5,000 plus
  • Angel, gift of $2,000-$4,999
  • Producer, gift of $1,000-$1,999
  • Director, gift of $500-$999
  • Star, gift of $250-$499
  • Lead Actor, gift of $150-$249
  • Featured Player, gift of $100-$149
  • Supporting Actor, gift of $25-$99

If you are interested in helping produce a show with your gift, for which you’ll be duly recognized in the program, lobby, and QTC’s social media, please contact

QTC is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization. To donate a one-time OR recurring gift on line via PayPal, click on the “Donate” button above, and enter the amount you would like to invest. Checks made out to “Quotidian Theatre Company” may be mailed to QTC’s mailing address: 5705 Brewer House Circle, #202, Rockville, North Bethesda 20852.

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