I'm (obviously) following this discussion with keen interest.I'm trying hard to imagine every possible scenario for the fall, since it's likely to be different in different parts of the country. Some schools may be able to do outdoor performances, some might do 25% audience full with a simultaneous livestream, some might have to do a completely zoomed performance. Some might be able to do their show on the stage without an audience.
I am working on creating shows with more depth and complexity, that could work in any situation. (I know a lot of people did 10 Ways to Survive... this spring, and I wanted to create something quickly, that was fun and simple, but I'd say that was a stopgap measure - or at least a show for beginning actors, rather than a play that really stretches people)
I've already completed THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST IN A PANDEMIC, which can be performed by actors in 7 different locations - it's essentially a very faithful adaptation of the play, with almost all the original dialogue, just adapted for socially distanced actors in different locations. I've got a new one-act called HELP DESK, which is similar to a play like Check, Please (mostly duets, could be done with social distancing on stage as the characters are supposed to be in different locations). I'm working on THE RADIO PLAY DISASTER, which essentially a "Play that Goes Wrong" version of War of the Worlds - performable live or virtually.
I'm learning a lot while I do this, and I encourage you to think about how you might adapt public domain work for virtual performance if need be - (anything before 1900 or so is fair game - just dig in, mess around with it, and make your own version.) I've also given a lot of permissions for people performing my other plays to tweak them as necessary for online performance too. (I get requests for me to adapt one of my plays for online performance just about every day, and I've written a lot of plays, so I can't do them all!)
I think the key here is to be flexible, and have a back-up plan if your play needs to go virtual. We don't know what's going to happen this fall, and even if things seem fine this summer, there might be a resurgence and we'll all need to go virtual again (shudder).
But I'm always happen to listen and work with you and your school if you need to adjust or modify things quickly.
I haven't had the bandwidth to work on this much, what with trying to figure out how to do the past 3 months online, but now that we're wrapping up I'm starting to think about next year.We've already made changes to the order of our season, which would accommodate having to be closed through the summer but being able to back in person in the fall. That change is switching our musical and main stage play, so that the musical moves to the winter and the play moves to the fall. Our house is large, so as much as I hate it when the audience is all spread out, it is an option to put ample space between audience members.If that's not an option, then I'm hoping we can perform at school with no audience, in which case we could try for a live stream and try to find a way to sell tickets for it (and choose something cheap so we don't have to worry too much about recouping our money).
If that's not an option, then I'll probably go to the public domain to find plays we can adapt for the virtual world. Our problem is our district won't allow us to use Zoom. We can use Microsoft Teams, so if we choose to do it this way I'd probably make sure whatever we do has small scenes so I can see everyone when we're rehearsing (Teams only allows you to see 9 people at a time, and you can't choose which 9). The performance would likely have to be recorded, and not through Teams. Probably each kid recording their own, or the kids logging on to Zoom and recording without me. Still mulling over that one.And since all of it is super up in the air and we've heard nothing about what might happen next year, I have a list of show options a mile long (and Kindergarten is on that list, even though we did it a couple years ago).
Hello,I have a question to those of you who live streamed last spring, especially because the fall seems so uncertain. Were you able to sell tickets? If so, how did that work? I've seen streaming on free platforms like Facebook and You tube but not other options. Eager to hear your thoughts.thanks-
I am very interested in this conversation. Having seen a number of Zoom productions my sense is that direct address to the camera works best. I think docu-drama seems to work well in this medium as the a camera becomes the audience and isn't a substitute for looking into another actor's eyes. I know of LARAMIE and 26 PEBBLES. Does any one have texts in this vain? Maybe some docu-theatre piece about police brutality or racial inequity?My fall production will need to be video presentation. We won't be permitted a live audience. I am actually going to use the opportunity to teach "acting for the screen." I think teaching young actor's about bringing a performance down to size for the screen could lend to some exciting work. I asked my administration not to consider this Fall slot a piece of theatre but call it "film." I hope titling it a "film" will open up collaborative opportunities on campus and also set expectations of what it is and what it isn't.My school is allowing us to have classes in person but with students in masks and six feet apart. They expect that our full production season will begin in January but have asked that the musical be something that appeals to all divisions as it will be an opportunity to lift the entire school up. I work in the Upper School but the school is a K-12. For the musical I am leaning towards GODSPELL.As a note of optimism I invite you all to check out this amazing message from Joe Haj, AD of the Guthrie Theatre.https://youtu.be/eZ1b8XX0XZA" href="https://youtu.be/eZ1b8XX0XZA" rel="noopener">https://youtu.be/eZ1b8XX0XZA
I am with you. Limitations/challenges create opportunities for creativity. Instead of stressing over what we can't do, focus on what we can do!
This has been the most wonderful thread to read as I've just been lamenting the lost potential of the fall (and really the whole year). I have a really special group of seniors coming up and I've been so worried that there was no chance for a special year for them, but everything here is giving me hope!Right now we have the rights to PIPPIN in the spring and I'm holding out hope that we're able to produce and perform. Our school produced our first musical in at least 25 years last year (it was my second year at the school and I think that's ultimately what landed me Teacher of the Year!) and it was such a big community building activity.
My plan is to devise for our spring play (or maybe our fall play now??) and I've been studying up on Tectonic's Moment Work method after a workshop I took with them this spring. Any ideas for "jumping off points" or specific source material that is timely with Black Lives Matter? I teach in a small Southern town, but I have open and caring kids and great administration and I feel it is a subject we would be remiss to not tackle in some form.
Thanks to everyone again for all of the posts above!
Drew WhitleyTheatre and English TeacherD. W. Daniel High SchoolCentral, SC