Theatrescape—February 2021

By C.E.E.K. for Boston Compass (#132)

February 7, 2021

As the pandemic progresses, creatives are getting more creative, now laying the seeds for a fruitful Spring and Summer. Since Covid turned the 2020-2021 season on its head, local theatre companies have been landing on their feet finding various ways to push forward with programming. While many shows were canceled or moved to warmer months for outdoor performances, other companies have turned to technology to revive past pieces with new technology or creating entirely new works based on this new digital medium. Local leaders, the Arlekin Players are embracing digital theatre for the long haul having just fundraised for their (Zero Gravity) Virtual Theatre Lab, where they can continue to experiment in combining live theatre, cinematography and even video games, for a new experience that is globally accessible.

Other theatre companies are bringing back relevant work from their recent pasts and adapting them to audio plays or creating filmed versions to be streamed later this year. This is actually a great way to share work to a wider audience, while navigating the dangers and expense of rehearsing during a pandemic. This includes Company One’s 2018 production of Hype Man: A Break Beat Play which is filming a live performance with the original cast, to be released later this year. While the Huntington Theatre is broadcasting an audio version of their 2016 hit show Tiger Style on the radio and online (info below).

In the last 10 years audio plays have made a comeback due to the popularity of podcasts, and even more so since the break of the pandemic. This version of storytelling harkens back to the radio plays of the pre-tv ‘30s and ‘40s. A format used to great effect by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air series of radio dramas. Last Spring, the Huntington Theatre really took the lead in Boston with their Dream Boston series of short audio plays, commissioned from local playwrights. This year the Lyric Stage company just debuted the first of six short audio plays as part of their Walking Plays series streaming online (info below). The theatre community’s dexterity through this crisis has been impressive and by default has enabled companies to grow their audiences globally by going virtual.

Below are some highlights of this February’s theatre events. Tips? Theatre companies we should follow? Email TheatrescapeBoston@gmail.com


-CEEK



Ongoing

Walking Plays series

Check out the first two short audio plays in this new series from the Lyric Stage Co featuring playwrights David Valdes and Ginger Lazarus.

Where: LyricStage.com

Throughout February

Better Future Series by Company One and the Theatre Offensive

This is an inspired series of workshops and events aimed at invigorating the creative community’s bodies and minds after a trying year. Explore all the programming from yoga to story circles and be sure to register ahead of time.

Where: Register at companyone.org/joyandwellness/

2/6, 6pm

Tiger Style on GBH at 89.7FM

The Huntington Theatre’s 2016 show is back and has gone audio for its radio debut. This hilarious confrontation of Asian stereotypes and family by Mike Lew will also be streaming via podcast in four half hour episodes.

Where: Huntingtontheatre.org

Thru 2/20

Julie @ Arts Emerson

A passionate take on Strindberg’s classic play Miss Julie by visionary Brazilian theatre director Christiane Jatahy. A layered work using multimedia to entrance the audience. In Portuguese with English Subtitles.

Where: Pick-your-price tickets at ArtsEmerson.org

2/18, 6pm

The Business of Virtual Theatre: Design

The second in this zoom series of panel discussions by Stage Source, this talk focuses on exploring design within the virtual stage with local professionals in engineering, projections, sound and lighting design.

Where: Register at https://www.stagesource.org/events

Ongoing

Downtown Crossing by Company One

Seven Bostonian’s live intersect via the Orange Line train on a Marathon Monday. Written by a David Valdes and directed by Summer L Williams.

Where: Rent online via companyone.org/production/downtown-crossing/

Check out all the art and columns of February's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass

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