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Provo-based theater troupe preparing for new, original production

By Harrison Epstein - | Aug 1, 2022
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Jacob Baird, right, and Stephen Gashler rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Actors rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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The Hive Collaborative in Provo is shown on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Leah Carr gives a thumbs up during a rehearsal of "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Alex Russon, left, and Leah Carr rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Chelsea Frandsen, back left, and Alex Russon listen to notes from co-directors Ken and Dennis Agle during a rehearsal of "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Teresa Gashler rehearses "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Sophie Rose rehearses "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Actors rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Geoff Means, right, and Dane Allred rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Alex Russon, right, and Leah Carr rehearse "Lost Works" at the Hive Collaborative in Provo on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Act I was a success. The stage was set, with the Agle family learning and developing the Hive Collaborative after opening the venue. Then COVID-19 forced the group into an unwanted intermission.

But brothers Ken and Dennis Agle used the COVID cancellations of live events to their advantage, buying the other half of their building and renovating the space.

In 2018, they performed three productions and saw the crowd growing with each show. Now, they’re ready to rebuild that audience; thus, Act II begins.

The Hive Collaborative transformed their building, outside of the 80-seat theater, into an all-purpose space for live events, photography, and video and sound production.

“Having a small audience of 80 in an auditorium for 400 feels kind of sad. But if you can find 80 people in an auditorium like ours, it feels really full and has a lot of energy,” Dennis Agle said.

Ken Agle pointed out the warmth of the theater, adding that there “aren’t any bad seats.”

On Friday, “Lost Works,” an original play written by Dennis Agle, will have its world premiere on the stage. It is their first original production at the venue since the renovations.

“To find a place where there was market for new works was difficult,” he said. Audiences can find comfort in shows they know, but new works offer unique experiences.

The only challenge can be with that unknown. When people aren’t familiar with the story, it forces the question of if the show will be family- and kid-friendly.

“We aim our work at kind of a PG level, but in this case it’s not really meant for small children; they wouldn’t be as engaged,” Dennis Agle said. “There’s nothing in it that’s off-putting or you don’t want a child to hear.”

The theater does put on other shows that are designed for the whole family to attend, but this particular show is “more geared for the grown-ups.”

They believe Utah County, whether people come from the Provo/Orem area or elsewhere, is ready to accept new works and support the theater.

Dennis Agle is fully aware of the challenges but believes the Hive offers viewers “something different” that can connect with people.

It’s there where the theater’s long-term and short-term goals overlap. The hope, Ken Agle says, is for people to take in a show “and go, ‘Oh, this felt like something that took me to another place.'” From there, people will come back for the next show, and the next and become regular supporters.

As for “Lost Works,” those who attend on opening night will be present for the world premiere, with the screenplay having been selected for a writer’s showcase at the now-defunct Echo Theatre in Provo in 2015 and a stage reading by Boomerang Theatre Co. in New York in 2016. After that, the script sat on a shelf before being refreshed and reworked for the stage.

The show itself, barring too many spoilers, bounces between settings in modern London and the time of William Shakespeare, with a charming blend of drama and comedy that just may leave attendees with a tear in their eyes.

The cast includes a host of local students and professionals with a love for the stage. Cast members listed in the program are Alex Russon (Geoffrey), Teresa Gashler (Celia), Stephen Gashler (Cuthbert and Co.), Dane Allred (Earl of Bedford), Leah Carr (Gillian), Geoff Means and Ron Pisaturo (Rowland), Sophie Rose (The Blue Girl), Chelsea Frandsen (Cook and Co.) and Jacob Baird (Valet).

All in all, the production is a labor of love and a labor of family. In addition to Ken and Dennis Agle writing, producing and co-directing the show, Davis Agle is working as the technical director while Aria Agle serves as stage manager. In every room, for every rehearsal, an Agle is somewhere putting in energy to put in “Lost Works,” now and every show in the future.

But even then, it’s not just a labor of biological family.

“I have a genuine love for these guys, like a kinship, like close friends. I haven’t seen them in four years, but you do a show here and it’s like you’re brought into the family,” Means said. “You don’t feel that anywhere else.”

That love and the congeniality felt from the cast as they laugh and talk while sharing pizza during rehearsal breaks is exactly what the Agle brothers set out to do with the Hive. Only time will tell what comes in the future for the ever-growing family.

“Lost Works” will be on stage Aug. 5-13. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at http://hivetix.com. More information about the space can be found at the Hive Collaborative’s website.

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