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3 from NKU Busy with Off-Night Play Series at Know Theatre

Norther Kentucky University students Alexx Rouse and Andy Simpson and 2015 NKU grad Robert Macke will start roundhousing at Know Theatre on Monday.

They’re a big part of Serials 3, a favorite off-night series at Over-the-Rhine’s alternative theater. 

Serials offers 15-minute episodes of five plays by area playwrights in five installments which play at 7:30 p.m. Mondays starting June 29 in Know’s Underground (a.k.a. bar.) 

In this third go-round, the twist is that the creative process becomes a mix-up. Every writer will take on each play for one episode as the series continues. At the audience’s request, playwrights kiss their idea good-bye and hope it gets something passing for tender treatment from their colleagues. (It’ a Roundhouse!)

Rouse, who’s been ushering and volunteering for Fringe since she was 17, is doing a little roundhousing herself – she did her first Serials in spring, partnering with Macke. He graduated and this time she’s collaborating with Simpson. 

She calls their #roxybalboa “a funny feminist play about a tiny girl on a bus who decks a creepy guy to stop his advances.” Of course she becomes an internet sensation.

Macke’s The Good, the Bad and the Elderly is about an elderly sheriff, Dolores, who has to save her town from bankruptcy and gentrification.

The aspiring playwright says he was hanging out with friends who mentioned Rouse and Simpson were working on a script and was he submitting? “I said, ‘Of course!’ I had nothing. Next thing I know, I'm telling them about a Western, but the sheriff is an old woman, and I come up with a punny title. That seems to satisfy them. A week before I turned in my proposal, my good friend Nate Netzley (who’ll ’be directing Know artistic director Andrew Hungerford’s Serials entry), suggested the idea of an auditor, instead of a gunslinger, being the villain. After that, the rest fell into place.”

The idea for the accidental feminist heroine of #roxybalboa was Simpson’s. Rouse says she  is “wildly excited to help him create this goofy, but lovely script.”

Handing off to other writers can come with a gulp.

“It's scary,” Rouse acknowledges, but I love seeing directors and writers do things with my work (or mine and Andy's work in this case) that I never would have thought of. Andy and I have an idea of where the story should go, but I'm sure the other Serials writers have different plans. Knowing that our story arc is being thrown into the wind is actually pretty exciting.”

Sneaky Macke notes, “I made it exciting for me to want to pass it on to the next person. I included a very specific problem that has to be dealt with at a specific time. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'm giddy to see how it resolves. And I don't throw around 'giddy' lightly.”

As for the future of their serials, Macke is working on other projects that he hopes to send to Cincinnati Fringe 2016 and contests. Then again, if his serial is a success, “I'd be willing to change gears and develop it for something in the future.”

Rouse says, “Even though the Serials writers are responsible for where Roxy goes for the summer, I'd really like to convince Andy to write our own version of the script and do a reading of it at NKU, maybe to eventually submit to 2016 Fringe. 

“While the script is fun, I also feel like we have something to say.” 

As for taking over other writers’ work – eeek. The playwrights find out their upcoming assignment the night of the show. 

Macke admits to “a bit of anxiety trying to find each show's rhythm in such a small amount of time, but I look forward to this challenge.”

“I still haven't wrapped my mind around that part yet,” Rouse confesses. She’s expecting some Red Bull-fueled nights. “But of course that's the fun of it. I can't wait for the 29th!”

Serials 3: Roundhouse, 7:30 p.m. June 29, July 13, Aug. 3, Aug. 17 and Aug. 31. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets $15, series $60. 513-300-5669 and here.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts

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