The Beau Jest Moving Theater Company will perform its original production, “Apt. 4D” in Wish Theater today at 7 p.m. 
The show is about three people living in a pre-war apartment. They each have their own troubles, lives and events that go on behind closed doors. It features a mysterious storyteller who begins to speculate and write about the other residents, despite not truly knowing anything about them. 

“‘Apt. 4D’ is what it’s like to be in a city and the interactions you have with humans on a day-to-day basis that are so distancing, but also very intimate,” described Bowdoin alum and co-star of the show, Kathleen Lewis ’10.

Professor of Theater Davis Robinson, who also directs and acts in “Apt. 4D,” created the Beau Jest Moving Theater Company 32 years ago. He started working on the show about two years ago, along with a cast of three other actors, two of which are Bowdoin alums. 

When creating a new production, Robinson uses a technique called devising. He relies on improvisation to develop characters, a plot and important, human moments. He then seeks out feedback from audience members. After they perform, the Company will regroup to workshop and adjust certain elements based on feedback they receive. 

“It’s kind of writing on your feet,” said Robinson. “What will happen is we’ll do it at Bowdoin and we’ll tape it and we’ll get some feedback and see if there is anything we still need to work on.”

Lewis explained that one of the most valuable lessons she has gained from her time with the Company is the importance of the devising process.

“One thing that I find really special about Beau Jest is that we walk in not necessarily with a concrete idea of what the end product will be,” Lewis said. 

When beginning a new production, the members meet and brainstorm. “We allow ourselves the freedom of just playing and seeing what is in the ether for each of us as individuals and we bring that to the table and we mix it all up and then we create something,” said Lewis.

Both Robinson and Lewis described working with the Beau Jest Theater Company as a welcome distraction from their normal, more uniform jobs. 

“We’re happy working on it when it fits everyone’s schedule. Everybody has day jobs. Nobody is relying on it for making a living right now so that’s pretty great,” said Robinson.

Lewis said it is challenging to find a time when everyone can meet. Although each actor is a part of the Company for his or her own enjoyment, it is still important that they can find a time in their busy schedules when they can all be in the same room at once.

Lewis is excited that Bowdoin students will get the opportunity to see a show performed and created by one of their professors. 

“In a way it’s like giving students a chance to see what we do in the real world and see where the research that we do and the stuff that we teach in class ends up professionally,” Robinson said.