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Theater company’s stolen stages replaced thanks to a big-hearted Brooklynite

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Sometimes miracles do come true.

After its portable stages were stolen from outside its director’s Park Slope apartment last month, a small theater company received a donated replacement in a nick of time from a big-hearted Brooklynite.

The Kipuka Theater had been scrambling to find a new stage since April 17 when a brazen crook swiped two 300-pound stage platforms from the front yard of director Caitlin Michener’s 12th Street abode. With the theater company’s next production— Japanese playwright Terayama Shuji’s “La Marie-Vison” — scheduled for May 10, the situation looked dire.

“When the stages were stolen we were totally bummed because the entire design of the show was built around having a center platform,” said Kipuka Theater founder Andrew Valentine.

The tight-budgeted theater company was getting ready to craft a makeshift stage. Then, just days before the show’s opening, Peter Malerba noticed the theater group’s cry for help for new rostrums on Reddit.com.

The charitable Park Sloper just happened to have multiple stages laying around an arts space that he manages on 18th Street. He came through with spare stages and saved the performance.

“I felt terrible. Who steals stuff like that? It’s really strange,” said Malerba. He had received the stages for free, but they had not been used for a performance in years. “I’m glad I was able to help out. It feels really good.”

Valentine said that when the group received Malerba’s message that he was going to hand over similar four-foot-wide, eight-foot-long stages for free, company members screamed and cried with joy.

“It saved us a lot,” said Valentine, who established the group seven years ago in Hawaii. “We were running out of money, so that donation to us was really huge.”

Valentine said that the theater group learned its lesson. It now stores the stage platforms safely in Michener’s backyard, instead of in front her apartment building between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The company rehearses in the building’s basement.

“We didn’t want them to get stolen again,” he said. “We’re really careful about putting anything out right now, even if it’s for five minutes.”

The stages worked perfectly for Kipuka Theater’s racy play about a transvestite prostitute. The show opened May 10 at Scholes 319, a Bushwick gallery space, and will run through May 26.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

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Reasonable discourse

Derrick from Bushwick says:
Oh my God! I just saw La Marie Vison last night and let me tell you it was the most incredible and insane piece of something, I can't really explain what it was. The acting is brilliant and so brave. Congratulations to this company ... Just WOW, very impressed!
May 25, 2013, 3:12 pm

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