It’s taken a little while for this post to decide what it wants to be. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to share something, but this period hasn’t provided too many work updates per se. During the past month several potential opportunities for summer and fall of 2020 shifted to potential opportunities for 2021, and pretty much all that was confirmed is that life in the theatre is going to be even more unpredictable than usual for some time to come. So I’ve decided to write something a bit different and share some varied things I am definitely looking forward to in the more immediate, still-in-quarantine future, in hopes of spreading a little certainty and inspiration.
Quote of the Month
“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”
- Carrie Fisher
1. Something This Week
Remember February, when theatre artists actually worked in theatres? Back then I directed the first reading of Joan’s Arc for The Growing Stage Theatre’s New Play-Reading Festival. Although our second round of live readings was unfortunately cancelled, TGS will be hosting a virtual forum this Thursday evening with all four finalist playwrights from the festival. Tune in on Facebook Live to hear about their plays, their development processes, and their love of theatre for young audiences!
2. Something To Watch
The early weeks of quarantine prompted an at-times overwhelming outpouring of previously filmed productions to be released online, but as the weeks have gone on I’ve had time to sort through the offerings and find some treasures. Always wanted to learn more about opera? Now you can check out all the classics for free! Never been able to catch a professional performance of Julius Caesar? Problem solved! Currently I’m most excited for the unexpected chance to catch up on a critically acclaimed London production of A Streetcar Named Desire from 2014, starring Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois, which will begin streaming through National Theatre at Home on May 21.
A few fun content providers to check out:
Nightly Met Opera Streams - New operas nightly, available 24 hours each
National Theatre at Home - New plays weekly, available 1 week each
Free Shakespeare Film Festival (Stratford Festival, Ontario) - New plays weekly, available 3 weeks each
Broadway Fridays (Lincoln Center, NYC) - Beginning in June, new performances weekly
3. Something To Write
I have not taken full advantage of these yet, but ongoing isolation has prompted a number of new online writing challenges and collaborations to spring up! I hope to use some of this time at home to write by time this is over, and have spotted several fun short-form playwriting activities which might help. The Quarantine Bake-Off runs weekend-long writing challenges in which participants receive a prompt of 5 components they must include in a 15 page or less play, while Playdate invites writers to submit and swap short new plays, providing the opportunity for feedback, revisions, and virtual performances. Both projects are open to anyone, with no prior experience required.
4. Something to Read: Monthly Shakespeare 2020 Update
When you’re participating in the Shakespeare 2020 Challenge (see January for a full explanation of this project), there are always more plays to read! April included a catch-up with my old friend Hamlet, and a very enjoyable first-time read of Richard II. In May I’m looking forward to brushing up my sonnets, re-visiting a sinister schemer in Othello, and some much more light-hearted ones in Love’s Labour’s Lost. We haven’t reached As You Like It yet in our reading list, but I enjoyed collaborating with some “co-mates and brothers in exile” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey on this little video for the Bard’s birthday on April 23!
5. Something of Your Own Invention!
Ordinarily the opportunities I look forward to most are traveling and getting into a collaborative room with other artists, so this one has been a challenge for me lately. But personalized projects we dream up for ourselves are likely to be the most inspiring and energizing during these strange times, so I challenge everyone to take inspiration where you can, be grateful for the resources we have, and brainstorm your own ways to keep creating!