Singing In The Dead of Night

Hune Company puts child abuse under the microscope in Blackbird.

By Katricia Lang November 17, 2015

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Greg Dean and Valentina Olarte star in Blackbird

The newly established theater troupe, Hune Company, based in Montrose, mounts Blackbird, an amoral look at the fallout of child sexual abuse. The controversial play is staged in a living room as part of the innovative Living Room Series. Matt Hune, performer, stage director and founder of the newly established company directs. “It’s raw realism. It’s theater unlike anything else [audiences] are going to see anywhere else in the city right now. It’s something new. It’s something different.”

Playwright David Harrower’s much lauded play concerns the deleterious union of Ray and Una. At 40 years old, Ray (Greg Dean) engaged in a sexual relationship with Una (Valentina Olarte), aged 12 at the time. The play picks up 15 years later. Una, now a young woman, confronts Ray with the effects of his crime. Over the course of the play, the two hash it out in an attempt to unpack and piece together the puzzle of their dangerous bond.

“It’s almost like a Greek tragedy,” notes Hune. Aristotle might agree. Like a Greek tragedy, Living Room Series: Blackbird is lyrical. To Hune’s ears, the dialogue is simultaneously conversational and poetic. “It sounds like very real contemporary speech but written on the page—the way it flows and the way it’s written—it’s almost like verse.”

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Matt Hune directs Blackbird

Blackbird provides its own perverse pleasure and catharsis. “It brings relief in the way that lancing a boil or chopping off an infected appendage brings relief,” adds Hune. Nonetheless, Hune expects that presenting an intensely emotional play—which provides a portion of its proceeds to the Children's Assessment Center (CAC), and centered around the oft-avoided topic of child sexual abuse to an audience just short of 20, will cause the audience some discomfort.

Furthermore, Hune strives to cultivate an inviting environment in each production. He aims to entertain the audience in more ways than one. The Hune Company is the gracious host and the audience is the guest of honor. “Instead of just showing up to a play not talking to anyone, finding a seat, watching [the production] in the dark and then leaving, hopefully, we all feel like family.”

Blackbird. Nov 19–Dec 5; Wed and Thurs at 7:30; Fri and Sat at 8. $20–28. Hune Company Living Room, 1210 Stanford St. 713-344-1291.