Found on-line; now available free around town in INSITE magazine's August 2010 edition:
Two Houses Both Alike…
By Brian Paul Scipione
INSITE magazine, August 2010
“This is, the first interview I’ve done for the theater,” says Casey Allen, “It’s like in the past we’ve been totally underground and nobody’s cared about what we do.” Allen is reprising his part as Romeo in Austin Drama Club’s second production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Yet far from a re-run the present performance has two major changes: there’s a whole new Juliet and a whole new theater space.
Austin Drama Club, originally formed as the Velvet Rut Theater in the Fall of 2006, is the passion project of Japhy and Ellen Fernandes, this group transformed a small three bedroom, one bathroom house on the East side of Austin into a bastion of environmental theater. By knocking down walls, doors, and other obstacles the Velvet Rut used a make shift space with home-made platform seating comprised of an eclectic array of chairs, stools, and benches (truly no two seats were alike) to bring a staggering thirty-plus productions to life. This group has tirelessly performed show after show, weekend after weekend with no regard to notoriety or notice. They have unabashedly embodied art for art’s sake. And now they have moved on to a more conventional (in the Austin sense of the word) theater-space and that is a warehouse on the outskirts of town. Much like the Blue Theater andthe Off Center, the Austin drama club had rented and renovated a large empty room at 12345 Pauls Valley Road, a short scenic drive down 290 past the Y.
So as the new space welcomes the troupe, the troupe welcomes a new player, Ashley McNerney, in the titular role of Juliet. McNerney was on a road trip across the South when a fateful few days in Austin landed her at the Austin Drama Club’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Taken by the show and the unique nature of Austin, she decided to move here to pursue her career in the arts after graduating East Carolina University in 2009.