The Verona Studio, a new theatre arts production company in Salem, is putting on its first play, Lee Blessing’s “Lonesome Hollow.” It will be Preforming February 22, and 23 and March 1 and 2 using the Reed Opera House’s Capitol City Theater-and director Seth Allen is looking for interested actors and actresses.

The auditions will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 15 at Keizer Academy of Music and Art (4904 River Rd. N., Keizer). Allen says that auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

For more information, contact Allen at (805) 657-7538 or at TheVeronaStudio@Yahoo.com.

Recently, Salem Weekly asked Allen a few questions about the play and The Verona Studio in general.

SW: What is the play about?
SA: “In this dystopic view of the near-future, sexual offenders have been removed from the traditional penal system and placed in a series of “gulag”-like camps created out of dying, rural towns all over America. Laws have changed, and now offenders can be kept indefinitely (largely incommunicado), for as long as the state sees fit, no matter the relative seriousness of their crime. Tuck, an inmate who’s served his sentence for sleeping with a teenage girl, has hopes of being released. Nye, an unrepentant serial child molester, scoffs at the possibility. Things grow more ominous with visits from Tuck’s sister and the camp’s shadowy director — and suspicion grows that a secret psychological program may also be going on.”

SW: How was the play selected?
SA: It was a play that I had read last year and the story really stuck with me. Because The Verona Studio doesn’t have a permanent home, I look for scripts that are possible to do in the locations I have available.

SW: How did the The Verona Studio come about?
SA: It has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time, I ran the idea past a couple of people, got a positive response and just kept going.

SW: What gap in Salem’s arts/entertainment scene does The Verona Studio hope to fill?
SA: I have always wanted to see a blackbox theatre performance presence downtown.

SW: What are the goals of the company?
SA: To present a vibrant, stripped-down theatre experience.

SW: What is the company looking for in actors/actresses for this production in particular?
SA: We are looking for people who want to work on a challenging play. People who are committed and willing to experiment.