The road has been rocky and hard, but now there are two spaces under The Little Room Downstairs Theater's modest little sign on Bissonnet. Still, neither of Richard Laub's theaters seats more than 60 people, and most of the time the stages have been reconfigured so as to allow no more than 55 people in the intimate audience. Elbow to elbow, knee to knee, the close quarters can make for some very meaningful theatrical moments. The one-woman Brandon Teena
story fit perfectly on the tiny main stage, as did Laub's musical memoir The Seat Between
. As hardworking as the silver-haired, reserved artistic director is, he's still struggling to make his theaters financially stable. But that's the way of any and all artistic ventures. Besides, growing pains can be good, especially if the little theaters can make it through this coming year. If Laub's big plans -- which include producing writers such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Paula Vogel and best-seller Stephen King -- pan out, his little-theaters-that-could might just become a force to be reckoned with.