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Front Row Seating for One

Love the theatre but hate the crowds? When going to the theatre do you always find yourself sitting next to someone who coughs and blows their nose, or you can only afford tickets that seat you in the last row in the balcony?

Well there is a solution. It’s called the “Theatre for One”; and they meant it!

It‘s a 4- -by-8 foot portable theater that looks like a storage container with one seat for one audience member to see one short play performed by one actor at a time.

Christine Jones, a Tony-winning scenic designer conceived the project back in 2011 and it’s still performing. The theater is located in three locations in Manhattan for two months each, offering free shows for one person only.

The “theater” itself is very comfortable, with red-padded walls and soft lighting. It’s a lot like being in a well-furnished confessional, or a very selective boudoir.

Professional writers were commissioned to create three-minute mini-plays based on the theme: “I’m not the stranger you think I am.” The lucky audience member waits until a partition rises revealing a performer who then begins a short performance. The plots range from serial killers to the death of a loved one. What performance one sees is basically the luck of the draw.

But it’s not a gimmick: it a serious attempt to make a stage performance literally private and “personal”. The writers and performers are professionals and, according to Ms. Jones: “It’s art in unexpected places”.

And it seems to be working. The “Theatre for One” opened in 2011 and is still performing one play, one actor, and several performances with a full house every time.

How many theaters can say that?