Blake Hogue likes to play with words.
That's why his new play about a broken family is called "Brokken Family," and why his new theater company is called, tongue-in-cheek, Blake Box Theatre. "Brokken Family," the company's debut play, will launch today in the newly painted black box theater — get it? — at the Rochester Rep.
Hogue, well-known to audiences at the Rep and Rochester Civic Theatre, said he wrote "Brokken Family" in part to satisfy local actors who have been looking for a place to perform after a boycott of the Civic began more than a year ago.
In the process, he also wanted to offer something not normally seen on local stages.
"I want people to walk away just going 'Oh, that was dark. That was a little rough,'" Hogue said. "There's not a lot of adult theater in town."
So he aims to provide it with "Brokken Family," which is about Misty Brokken, a "golden child and destructive narcissist," who returns home to likely wreak havoc in the lives of her family members.
"The show has a lot of current events in it," Hogue said. "I had a big interest in taking some of the crazy things in society today" and working them into a play.
In the cast are Suzanne Eastlund, Samantha Gibson, Christina Stier, Mike Tri and Nick Rudlong. All are familiar to local theater audiences.
They will perform in an upstairs classroom at the Rep, which has been turned into a black box theater by painting the entire room black.
"I've been teaching improv classes in that little classroom, and I thought, 'Let's make it look like something different,'" Hogue said. "I love black box spaces."
The room can accommodate an audience of 42. Hogue said it might be the site of future Blake Box productions.
"If this one goes over well, I hope to keep writing and directing more stuff," he said. "I think there's a market in town to see all different kinds of work."