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PERIHELION THEATER COMPANY AND PRODUCTIONS

 

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About Perihelion Theater Company

What's in a name?

Perihelion comes from the Greek (peri = near, Helios = sun) meaning "near to the sun" and is used in astronomy to denote the point in any solar orbit that is closest to the sun, as suggested in our logo.

After several months of search for the new name for the company as it was becoming incorporated, executive director, Tom Traut, said that the name needed to be easily recognizable. Karyn Traut, artistic director & CEO asked why that should be. Only scientists knew the meaning of "Pilobolus" before the dance company took it for its own. Tom, a biochemist, responded that if that were the case, the obvious name for the company would be "Perihelion." "What does that mean?" Karyn asked. Tom told her that "Perihelion" means "near to the sun" in Greek and that it is used in astronomy to designate the point in a planet's orbit at which it is closest to the sun. "The reason it's the name for the company," he added, "is because your plays come as close to the truth as one can come without being consumed." When presented to the board and others, the meaning "near to the sun" clicked.

In the late '90's as funding for the arts began to dry up, the company turned in the direction of producing film and videos to enable the theatrical work to reach a larger audience. Such work would not only bring theater on film to that audience, as we did in our production Alligator and Ellis which aired on the state wide North Carolina PBS affiliate UNC-TV in 1993, but it would create a potential source for funding future theatrical work.

Perihelion Theater Company, Ltd., was founded as a non-profit, professional company in 1989, having grown out of Eccentric Circles Theater Company of North Carolina, which formed in the Fall of l987 to take two one-acts by Karyn Traut to New York City for a short run at the Woman's Interart Center annex. After 20 years of doing theater and having her plays produced in Los Angeles, various areas of North Carolina and a previous production in New York, (The Kennedy Play, produced by Traut Company) artistic director, Karyn Traut, realized it was time to form an ongoing company. When the decision came to become a non-profit theater, a legal advisor encouraged the board to take a unique name not already used by other companies. (Eccentric Circles was the name of a company in New York City at that time.) After nine months of deliberation, Perihelion Theater Company, Ltd. was chosen. In the late '90's, as plans for producing theater in television and film formats began, "And Productions" was added.

Staff and board members are volunteers. Actors and technical directors are paid by the project depending on available funds. The board is kept to a workable minimum of three consisting of the artistic director/CEO, the executive director and one member from the community. A national advisory board exists of professionals in theater and other realms who have maintained an active interest in Perihelion's work through the years and have contributed valuable ideas or help to our efforts.

 

Earlier Productions by Perihelion

Stacey Stowall, Richard Zaffron and Mary Ramsden Smith in:

THE WOMAN AT FARMER'S MARKET
and REMEMBERED MUSIC
,
written and directed by Karyn Traut


1986-1987
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

 

Farmer'sMarket-NY

 

Farmer'sMarket

 

 

Richard Zaffron and Callie Warner in:

1987
The Women's Inter-Arts Center, New York, NY

Erik Berg and Solomon Gibson III in:

SATURDAY'S CHILDREN, 1988
written and directed by Karyn Traut,
music by Richard Robeson,
sculpture by Patrick Dougherty,

puppets by Jeff Storer and Rhonda Pumphreys
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

Jefferson-small

Seafood

Michael Kelsh and Bruce Horvath in:

SEAFOOD, 1989
written by Kate Rindfleisch,
directed by Karyn Traut,
music by Charles Pettee,
music direction by Paul Price
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jody Drezner and Elizabeth Martin in:

ALLIGATOR AND ELLIS on tour, 1990-91
written by Karyn Traut,
directed by Richard Robeson,
original music by Richard Robeson,
art by L. Zjawin Francke.

The state of North Carolina, several cities

 

 

 

 

 

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Sandbox

House-sand

 

Elizabeth Martin, Shannon Dancy and Jody Drezner in:

HOUSE UPON THE SAND, 1992
written and directed by Karyn Traut
The Forest Theater, UNC Campus, Chapel Hill, NC

 

 

Deborah Hanson in:

ALLIGATOR & ELLIS, on WUNC-TV, statewide television in North Carolina, 1993
written and directed by Karyn Traut, video direction by John Santa
cinematography by Gary Moos

From University of North Carolina: The Daily Tar Heel, Feb 2. 1993

AandE

Jody Drezner and Elizabeth Martin in

 

THE HUMIDITY MAID, 1994

written and directed by Karyn Traut,

original music by Shannon Dancy,

Gerrard Hall, UNC Campus, Chapel Hill, NC

 

"This is the kind of play that will be in text books in the future because of its asymmetry." ....National Critiquer at N.C. Playwrights Festival, Southern Pines, N.C. 1993, after staged reading.

HumidityMaid

Jaki'sPlay

Carmen Mejia and Ronnie D. Battsin:

BLUE OPAL, 1994
written by Jaki Shelton Green,
directed by Karyn Traut
Hayti Heritage Center, Durham, NC

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Deborah Hanson and Dorothy Recasner Brown in:

ATR, 1995 (Reading)
written and directed by Karyn Traut
N.C. Playwrights Festival, North Carolina

ATR and THE NAMING OF NAMES, 1995
written and directed by Karyn Traut,
Durham Arts Council's People's Security Theatre,
Durham, NC

ATR+Names

Ladri

Alan Riley Jones and Deborah Hanson in:

LADRI WAITS, 1996
written by Alan Riley Jones,
directed by Karyn Traut, original musical composed by Alan Riley Jones
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

Karyn Traut, Shannon Dancy and Dusty Dancy rehearsing

 

SHOWING YOUR GOLD, 1997

written and directed by Karyn Traut,

Cafe Driade, Chapel Hill, NC

 

 

"I liked that. I really liked that. And I normally only like drag racing." ....audience member two years after performance.

 

Gold

Anna+Courtney

Anna Weinstein and Courtney Moore Parker in:

PHOENIX RISING, 1998
written and directed by Karyn Traut
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

 

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WEIRDLY WONDERFUL WACKY WOMEN, 1998
written and performed by
New York Solo Performance Artist, Dylan Guy;
The WestEnd Wine Bar, Chapel Hill, NC

WWWW

Courtney-Driade

Courtney Moore Parker in:

BERKELEY BROCCULI
written and directed by Karyn Traut,
1998, Cafe Driade, Chapel Hill, NC

1999, Cafe Loon Loon, New York, NY

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Perihelion logo created by Kevin Traut. 

 Board of Trustees

                   Karyn Traut, Artistic Director and CEO
                   Thomas Traut, Executive Director
                   Rose Wignall, Trustee

National Avisory Board

Karen Ackerman, LLD, Attorney; Berkeley, CA
Byron Ballard, Smokey Mountain Repertory Theatre; Asheville, NC
Grecian Goeke, Performance Artist; San Francisco, CA
Melvyn Golditch, PhD; Biochemist, Fort Worth, TX
Dylan Guy, Solo Performance Artist; New York, NY
Nina Kamberos, Writer; Chapel Hill, NC
Robert Kiefer, Theatrical Director; Nashville, TN
Judith Meeker, MEd; Educator; Glendale, AZ
Susan Price, Non-profit Administrator; and visual artist; Santa Monica, CA
Julianne Tomkovick, Development Coordinator & Playwright; Chapel Hill, NC
Theresa M Yushok, MD; Psychiatrist, Poet and Playwright; Durham, NC
Joanne Zmud, Community Theater Producer; Norman, OK