A new theater company opens at Akron

Written by: Lois Elswick

A new theater company has officially opened its doors here in Akron. They call themselves None Too Fragile, and have made their home next to Pub Bricco in the Valley.

None Too Fragile is the brainchild of Sean Derry, Alanna Romansky and Jaysen Mercer. Sean Derry is known as one of the co-founders of The Bang and the Clatter Theatre Company, with locations in Akron and Cleveland. He and his partner Alanna are actors with several film and live-theater credits to their names. They partnered with Jaysen Mercer earlier this year and began the resurrection of None Too Fragile.

The entrance to the theater is inside Pub Bricco, down a narrow hallway that leads into a very intimate theater space. Formerly a gym, the team worked together to gut the space and build a theater inside. The walls, risers and chairs are all new. Sitting down, one realizes that they can almost reach out and touch the actors, which makes for a very personal dramatic experience.

None Too Fragile actually had a home on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls several years ago. Upon partnering with Jaysen Mercer, Alanna and Sean decided to keep the name in the new space.

They opened this season with the play “On an Average Day,” written by John Kolvenbach. The play is a mystery involving two estranged brothers who reunite for the first time in many years. “On an Average Day” runs until Oct. 21, Thursday through Sunday each week, and stars Sean Derry and Mark Mayo. Tickets are $20 or, as they put it, “pay-as-you-can,” which is fairly rare to find with such a high-quality theater.

“We want to be a theater for anybody and everybody,” Derry said. “We want to create a dialogue with the audience not only here, but after they leave. That’s one thing you don’t find in a lot of theaters. It’s not just the people who can afford to pay 20 dollars to see a show — you can still come to see a show for a buck, or five bucks, or even half a pie! You don’t have to go broke to have a good time, and at the same time you are supporting local art and culture.”

Indeed, half a pie? It has been done, and they graciously accepted the half-pie as payment for admission.

“Movie tickets are $10 now, so if I can go see a play for that same amount, why not bring someone to see something different?” Mercer said. “The challenge for us is to get people from the 18-25 demographic down here. Once they walk in the door, they will see that this is not a normal theater. We try to take an independent movie and put it on stage. It’s a 3D experience.”

Season passes will be on sale soon, and whoever purchases one will receive a piece of Don Drumm art as their ticket, which alone is worth the price of the season’s shows.

Because the theater is partnered with Pub Bricco, patrons can have dinner and drinks before or after each show without having to set foot outside of the building. On Wednesday nights, the theater hosts jazz bands, taking on a club vibe with small tables and cocktail service. The next play at None Too Fragile, opening Nov. 9, is Karen Sunde’s “How His Bride Came to Abraham.” Help keep local theater thriving with a visit to None Too Fragile, and stop by Pub Bricco for dinner before the show!

None Too Fragile is located at 1835 Merriman Rd. You can visit their website at nonetoofragile.com. Tickets can be purchased at the box office on the night of the show or bought online, through their website.