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Brüka Brings Newspaper To Life
by Nathan Orme
Jan 12, 2012 | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo - The cast of Reno’s Brüka Theatre will perform “The Bridge,” the story of the Virginia Street bridge, today, Friday and Saturday. The performance is based on the living newspaper style of the Federal Theatre Project of the 1930s.
Courtesy Photo - The cast of Reno’s Brüka Theatre will perform “The Bridge,” the story of the Virginia Street bridge, today, Friday and Saturday. The performance is based on the living newspaper style of the Federal Theatre Project of the 1930s.
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RENO — Being familiar with newspapers, I was curious about how the actors of Brüka Theatre planned to create a “living newspaper” on the stage in this weekend’s performances of “The Bridge.”

“It’s a multimedia performance,” said Brüka creative director Mary Bennett, who is one of the eight minds behind the stageplay about Reno’s own Virginia Street bridge. “We use headlines, start with the beginning of the paper and take it to the end. We start with the top story, we use editorials ... today in history. ... We totally took the structure of the newspaper. And it ends with the legals.”

Bennett said the style of “The Bridge” is taken from the living newspaper genre of the Federal Theatre Project, a division of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s that employed artists, writers and performers during the Great Depression.

“They did the style of a living newspaper to bring to life social issues of the day,” Bennett said. “So we chose a community-oriented issue, one close to our hearts, because the name ‘brüka’ is loosely based on ‘the bridge’ in German. We sit on the Virginia Street bridge so the impact that the bridge project could have on us could be measurable.”

In “The Bridge,” all members of a news staff will weigh in on the story, from a sports writer to an entertainment writer, from crime to business beats and the editorial page. Skits are humorous and entertaining while also being informative. The bridge was built in 1860, rebuilt 87 years ago and is now looking at another rebuild because of its effect on the river during floods.

For example, one of the vignettes will be from the divorce announcement section of the newspaper and include the bygone tradition of divorcees throwing their wedding rings off the Virginia Street bridge. When Reno was known as the quickie divorce capital of the world, this un-matrimonial tradition became an integral part of the bridge’s mythology.

“It’s been interesting,” said Sandra Neace, a Sparks resident and one of the play’s writers and performers. “We’ve learned a lot of stuff we didn’t know before. In trying to write ‘The Bridge’ we gained a lot of knowledge.”

“The Bridge” will be performed at 7 p.m. today and Friday and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. Advance tickets cost $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors or $15 at the door. For information, call 323-3221 or visit www.bruka.org.
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