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The Gamm’s Estrella Talks About Theater’s History, Intimacy at Warwick Library

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Gamm Theatre Artistic Director Tony Estrella speaks with Cathy Andreozzi and Sandy Cerel after his talk at Warwick Public Library Tuesday night.
Warwick – While it’ll be a few weeks before The Gamm Theatre opens at 1245 Jefferson Blvd. Oct. 11, patrons of the arts spent Tuesday night at Warwick Public Library listening to Gamm’s artistic director Tony Estrella’s stories about its history and artistic approach.

Estrella spoke at length about the intimacy he aims to engender at the Gamm, and how he intends to keep that up at the new location. If the theater is so removed from the audience that it seems like a television show, Estrella said, “We’re going to send people to the movies,” he said.

Estrella joked about the coincidence that each of the spaces the Gamm has called home throughout the years were former garages. In Providence, he said, the building’s roof leaked, and their landlord was prone to watering his garden above them, making it rain on the actors during inopportune times, including during dry desert scenes.

While the new space will afford them the ability to create sets that are two stories high, and give them a wider stage to perform in, the space has been remodeled to maintain the intimacy theater goers will remember from the Gamm’s Pawtucket location. No one will be further than eight rows from the actors, he said, which will make the experience of watching a show at the Gamm an immersive experience.

When people talk about a Gamm peformance, he said, they will say,”I could see the sweat. I could see the expression in the eyes, I could feel,” Estrella said.

“We’re recreating the intimacy we had, in Warwick,” Estrella said.

And while the Gamm’s repertoire is by and large more serious stock, including Hamlet, they’re not humorless.

“In each one of those plays, I heard laughs, Estrella said, “Life is a comedy, I suppose, with a tragic end.”

For the theater’s first season, no single member of their resident actors will play in more than one production. The rest of the work will be done by several new actors they’ll recruit from Connecticut, New York and Boston.

Those who can’t wait until October to see the inside of the Gamm’s remodeled Jefferson Blvd. home will have a chance at a tour of the interior during a Food Truck Night to be hosted at the site Thursday, from 5 till 8 p.m., Estrella said. The parking lot will be full of food truck vendors and the interior will be open for people to have a look at the physical space.

Estrella is charmed by the spot, the former home of an auto dealer’s repair shop. “There’s something about a space where people worked,” he said.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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