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By Mike Moran, a Baltimore based stand up and podcaster

After years of bouncing around Baltimore, The Single Carrot Theatre seems to have finally found a home. Though the North Baltimore neighborhood of Remington is notoriously unwelcoming of business (that’s a whole nother article) the Single Carrot Theatre, often described as Baltimore’s “biggest little theatre” has been able to find a long-term location not far from their Station North roots. “We wanted to stay close to the part of Baltimore that had come to be our home, yet we wanted more space and needed to move,” explained SCT artistic director, Genevieve de Mahy.

The theatre is itself is marvelous; not a fancy hall by any means, but far from the cramped, dusty venues common in North Baltimore. It’s simple dignity feels DIY but not neglected. Of course, it’s in the performances, where the real magic happens.

“Our work tends to be a little off the beaten path and frequently showcases newer plays and up and coming playwrights.” Genevieve continued, “We do work that’s exciting, adventurous and that creates a new experience for the audience. Too often, theatre tries to hard to be film. It’s important to take advantage of the medium of theatre. The advantage is living, breathing people and actual objects and materials in front of actual people. You have the freedom to be imaginative and encourage the audience to use their own imaginations.”

One of Genevieve’s favorite examples of imaginative storytelling that have passed through SCT was the 2012 run of Charles L. Mee’s Hotel Cassiopeia, a nonlinear, abstract, journey into the mind and life of an artist. Rife with music, imaginative childlike imagery, and dada-esque, anything-goes, storytelling, Hotel Cassiopeia features the type of creativity SCT loves facilitating and as Genevieve explained, “everything came together on that one… performances, design, really, just everything. Everyone working on it was on the same wavelength and the product was collaboration at it’s best. Strong collaboration is the key to making good theatre and I have never been part of a piece where every element worked so incredibly well together.”

It’s collaboration between passionate individuals that makes it possible to pull off something as nearly impossible as running a successful, independent theater company. SCT’s roots can be found not in Baltimore but in a group of college students in Boulder, Colorado who shared a similar dream of operating their own space. After careful consideration they decided Baltimore was the best place to launch their vision and have cut their teeth together on it ever since. “It’s always going to be hard,” Genevieve told me. “There is no point where you sit back and reap the benefits of your labors. Making theatre is always a labor and it should always be a labor of love. Once you don’t love it any more, there’s no point in working so hard on it– it’s much too heartbreaking for that.”

As to why she and the others behind the Single Carrot Theater decided to go the very difficult route of creating their own performance house instead of following the traditional path of getting hired on to work for others, Genevieve explained, she was never content “hustling to work on a play that (she) didn’t care about,” and wanted to “make the work that (she) wanted to see on stage.” I can relate. It seems in the world of performance you either wait in line, try to cater to the whims of the mainstream, and hope someone important says yes, or you just go out and do it all yourself.

As far as upcoming performances for Single Carrot Theater’s ninth season, Genevieve is most excited about Midlife, an “ethereal psychological thriller” by New York/Bmore playwright, Ben Hoover. A story about, a woman’s attempt to protect her own mind from dementia, Midlife’s themes of maturation and change fill Genevieve with “a passionate melancholy” as she has “always been inspired by and simultaneously terrified by living…just by the nature of life and moving through different landmarks of a constantly changing world.”

It’s not all existential journeys and abstract storytelling at the SCT, the theater is not afraid to have a little fun too. I recently witnessed the insanely entertaining and very sold out performances by the Amazing Acro-Cats, who are just that: trained cats doing circus tricks, including climbing stuff, jumping over stuff, freakin’ bowling with a live chicken, and performing in the world’s only all cat band. The product of animal rescuer/positive-reinforcement-only trainer, Samantha Martin, the Acro-Cats were adorable and awesome and everyone had a blast in the impressively diverse Single Carrot crowd; young punk folks, middle aged yupsters with their kids, blu-colla, old school Bmre, working class types; all enjoying cat wonders together.

The journey of the Single Carrot Theatre is inspiring because it’s a reminder one can perform by their own rules, and make their own success, if one chooses to put in the work. Too often us artist types feel like it’s a grind of begging and ass kissing until someone in a position of power gives us the go ahead. Many people end up resentful, jealous, and no longer loving the whatever craft they were once passionate about when competing in someone else’s game. It’s comforting to know that your own vision can manifest by your own will, if you’re willing to face the mountain of work that comes with it.

To find all things Single Carrot Theater including upcoming performances and ticket sales, click here.