I know, it’s been awhile. I’ve put less emphasis on the “monthly” aspect of these updates lately, since many of the projects I’m working on during this extended time of relative isolation are ongoing and rather amorphous. But I do, finally, have some actual updates! My projects this summer aren’t anything like I thought they would be when the year started, but this time may present some silver lining opportunities yet.
Quote for your Quarantine
"It was so moving the way he described the birds he could see from his prison window - birds he never even noticed when he was a government official."
- Vershinin, Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov
O, Brave New World
I have one thing to report that actually could fit under my usual “Current & Upcoming” heading, so that’s… unexpected, at this point. I have continued to do remote box office work for The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ throughout this time, and am very excited to share that we will be offering some real, live theatre beginning the end of this month. Under the banner of the Back Yard Stage, STNJ will be presenting two different short performances in rep in an outdoor, distanced, masked format. We would love to have you join us!
Keeping in Practice
Ordinarily the opportunities I most value are chances to travel and get into a collaborative room with other artists, so finding inspiration and silver linings throughout the past few months hasn’t been easy. But as many people have begun to suggest (and I have seen many posts and articles address this much more profoundly and in far greater depth than I will here), there is a certain opportunity in being forced to pause and change course. As it becomes clear that these far from “normal” circumstances will be continuing for some time, I am committed to using this time to listen, build & maintain connections with friends rather than losing touch, and examine what I can do better and differently in the future rather than envisioning a return to “normal.”
As specifically relates to directing, I am also trying my best to sharpen my skills while out of the rehearsal room. Between the Shakespeare 2020 Project (now past its halfway point!) and other readings I’ve participated in, I’ve explored many plays with a specific focus on taking notes and collaging design ideas that would be useful for production preparation in the future. Although Zoom holds no candle to in-person collaboration and discussion, I’ve been embracing the opportunity to connect with some long-distance collaborators, both to reunite with friends from old projects and connect with new artists during play readings. For the past month or so I’ve been hosting weekly virtual Shakespeare readings, which have really made me realize how much I’d missed casting and dramaturgical prep work. And hopefully by the end of all this I will have learned something about video editing!
A sampling of my 2020 play-reading collages
Meanwhile, in 19th Century Russia
Unexpectedly, a sub-unit of my quarantine has been 19th century Russian literature. I started reading War and Peace so that I could discuss it with one friend, while right around the same time a different friend organized a Chekhov-focused play reading group. So if anyone finds themselves writing a related play during all this please let me know… I will be incredibly prepared to dramaturg that for you!
A Crafty Closing
You may recall that I contribute to the Etsy shop Queequeg & Paulina Vintage (on Instagram at @Queequeg_PaulinaVintage), and we have an exciting current selection of vintage & handmade listings. Please stop by for your summer shopping!