Five years ago, Mildred's Umbrella started out in a cavernous, cold room, putting on original shows with virtually no set, no lights and no money. It's come a long way. The company is still putting on new work by resident playwright John Harvey, but MU has also added some terrific nationally known writers to its season. Marina Carr, Melissa James Gibson and Edna O'Brien were on the bill this past year, along with a fiercely avant-garde script by Harvey, featuring a woman who falls in love with a bull. And while the company still doesn't have a permanent home, the Little Troupe That Could has attracted actors and technicians who've worked at some of Houston's most well-endowed theaters. Best of all, the company, under the artistic direction of founding member Jennifer Decker, has kept its artistic integrity intact. The strange and sometimes head-scratchingly difficult work is never commercial and always intellectually challenging. MU has firmly established itself as an important part of what makes Houston's theater scene one of the richest in the country.