Open Space Café Theatre on the run … of a hilarious comedy

by Lenise Willis


This week is not only the last string of performances of a hilarious “Saturday Night Live”-like comedy, but it is also the last production that Open Space Café Theatre will present in its new space.

After moving its theater from West Market Street to a church’s facility on Battleground Avenue, Open Space Café Theatre is now being forced to move again due to legal restrictions and zoning.

Acting as the theater’s farewell, this week’s performances of Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show will be the last production before its season is put on hold.

“Besides being very funny, it’s also an intelligent insightful comedy — you’ll both laugh and think,” says Artistic Director Joe Nierle.

“Audiences will love this show — it is filled with laughs in a series of scenes like ‘Saturday Night Live.’ It deals with feminist issues and people in life situations as the two actresses play more than 20 characters.”

Parallel Lives is a production well suited for a mid-season move, as it has a pretty simple focus. Instead of having to deal with specific scene locations and set designs, the play focuses on the two actresses.

“It’s a snappy [easy] set that works well to keep the play moving at a fast pace,” Nierle said. “The only challenge in producing the show has been the sell. Many haven’t heard of it and aren’t sure what it’s about — but I guarantee a fun night.”

Topics covered by “Kathy and Mo” include “The first date,” “Religion’s influence on our lives as seen through the eyes of two women from ages 5 through 30,” “Saturday night in a country- Western bar,” “Two elderly women going back to community college” and “The morning getting ready for the day rituals of a woman,” just to name a few.

“We did this show our first season but as it was the second show we ever did, few people knew of the theater so few people saw it,” Nierle said.“Now that we’re in our sixth year with a good following, we decided to do it again. Stephanie Gray who was in the first production of it that we did was so amazing, I promised her some day we would do it again, so here we are and she is in it again this time with Heather Jaynes.”

The play is recommended for ages 18 and up due to language and some situations.

“Our new location at [an old youth ministry room] has been a blessing — no pun intended — and a problem,” Nierle said.

After almost six years of operation, the cabaret-style theater had attracted a following that was too big for its West Market Street facility and parking lot, according to Nierle, and needed more space to store costumes, set pieces and props.

“The new space was perfect,” Nierle continued. “But, after moving all of our things there, disrupting our season schedule, and doing three sold-out shows there, we have found out that because of legal issues with zoning and conforming to property size, the church is not legally able to rent the space to us.”

So, after this week’s final run of Parallel Lives, Open Space will suspend the rest of its season, put its things into storage, and take time to look for a new space.

“Downtown already has some good theaters so we are looking in the more Northwest area of Greensboro,” Nierle said. “Our regular patrons have been so supportive, and no decline in attendance has been felt in the church. We just hope two moves doesn’t mean we lose audience.

“It’s frustrating, but we’re hopeful,” Nierle added. Until then, Nierle and the staff at Open Space Café Theatre are committed to filling their new location with a final lingering laugh.


Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show is running Friday through Sunday at Open Space Café Theatre, 4094 Battleground Ave. Tickets are $20. For tickets and more information call the box office at 336.292.2285, or visit