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‘Dog Explosion’ ignite’s troupes performance season

The Nevada Conservatory Theatre is starting its 2013-14 season with a bang, almost literally. The dark comedy “Dog Explosion,” written by UNLV film professor Sean Clark, is set to run through Sept. 28.

The titular explosion takes place about 20 minutes before the play. The show opens on a porch, with the front door blown apart, and deals with the aftermath and the interpersonal relationships of the family involved in the explosion.

“I wrote the story about 20 years ago,” said Clark, who spent several years writing for popular television shows, including “Northern Exposure,” “Evening Shade” and “Early Edition,” before moving to Nevada to raise his family. “It’s based on a story I heard at a writers’ conference and personal experience.”

The play has been produced several times in other cities but never published. Despite the lack of publication, the play has developed renown.

“Weldon Durham, my former professor, who is now a friend, saw two different people do the monologue in the same audition,” Clark said. “He called me up and asked if I’d published it. It’s getting out there somehow.”

Clark said that based on what he has seen at rehearsals, this will be the best cast the show has ever had.

“There have been stand-out performers in others productions, but everyone’s good in this one,” Clark said.

The cast of the Nevada Conservatory Theatre productions include a mix of student and professional actors.

“We bring in Equity actors and union directors,” said Brackley Frayer, chairman of the UNLV theater department and executive director of the Nevada Conservatory Theatre. “It’s very beneficial for our student actors and our theater.”

The Nevada Conservatory Theatre is UNLV’s professional theater training program, and the shows it produces each year are chosen by a committee of the faculty. The selection is a balance of entertaining the audience and challenging the student actors.

“We do the kind of plays that our students need to have under their belts before they graduate,” Frayer said. “I’m sure there are people who would like it if we just did five productions of ‘Grease’ or some other musical every season, but that’s not our mission.”

The theater produces some well-known and popular shows each season, and this year, it is doing “A Christmas Carol” and Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”

“For ‘A Christmas Carol,’ we’re partnering with Family Promise, a charity that provides help for homeless families,” Frayer said. “We’re connected to the community, and we do partnerships with local organizations.”

One of those partnerships this year is set to be a production of “Line” by Israel Horovitz, which has played continuously at the off-Broadway 13th Street Repertory Company since 1974. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre is set to work on the show with the Cockroach Theatre, which Frayer said includes many UNLV theater program graduates. The show is set to be performed Nov. 6-9 at UNLV and Nov. 14-17 at The Cockroach Theatre at 1025 First St., Suite 110.

The spring season includes “Seminar” by Theresa Rebeck, “Good Person of Szechwan” by Bertolt Brecht, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” by Alan Ball and “Grease” by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

“The theater is a real bargain,” Frayer said “For about the cost of one show on the Strip, you can get a subscription to our whole season of shows.”

For more information, visit unlv.edu/nct or call the box office at 702-895-2787.

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.

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