A Brief History of Vertigo Theatre Factory
Rick Dahl's perspective:
In 1999, a bunch of us were rehearsing for the Rochester Civic Theatre's production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile". I had never met Shane, Charron or Jake Donze before, but I did know a couple other people in the cast - Mike Johnson, Todd Walker and Tracy VanVoorst. I know there were two other wonderful actors in the cast, but my aged and befuddled mind has already misplaced their names.
We started asking each other about our respective histories and backgrounds. You know, basically trying to impress the others without looking like you were trying to impress the others. I had come out of ten years of retirement from the stage (I had been regularly performing with the fun gang at the Rochester Radio Theatre Guild, but now I had to move and memorize stuff.) I explained that most the scripts being done in town lately either didn't appeal to my bizarre tastes or didn't offer open auditions. To tell the truth, there were a couple of great shows where I just bombed at the auditions.
So that's how ten years went by so soon. Basically, I didn't think the scripts being performed were that interesting. Hey, there was great theatre going on - no offense to anyone - just not to my taste. And apparently, not to Shane's, either.
We started kicking around the preposterous idea of starting our own theatre company. It would be small at first, 'cause basically, no one else cared. We'd write a lot of our own scripts or do lesser-known works and beg our actor buddies to take parts. For support staff, costumes and props, we'd call in any obscure little favor that anyone might possibly be convinced that they owed us.
Money? We'd put up our own with a weekly tithing. We still do that.
We needed a name. Without a name, we were just a couple of guys ticking off other people with our 'dreaming out loud'. Shane, Charron and I brainstormed three pages of wacky names at the Greenhouse one afternoon. Then I proposed we pass around the list and cross out the one we hated most, passing it around until only one was left.
I'll claim this bit of history and let it be known that luck brought the final choice down to me! YESSSS! Eventually, there were only two names left on the list. I had the tough choice to make: Vertigo or... Platypus. Heck, you know what I picked and Shane and Charron agreed heartily. There we were. We had a name.
Okay, so obviously, there are other chapters of the origin to be told. Other chapters might involve the wisdom of Joan Sween, the inspiration of Ted St. Maine, the risk-taking of Michael Dennis Johnson, the unflagging steadfastness of Andy Walerak, the devotion of Debbie Hill Fuehrer or the commitment of Don English. Maybe others want to tell their story? Contact Vertigo!