It’s been too long since I updated. When things fell apart, I let this website sort of rust. I also put on ten pounds.
I’m back to report that making theatre in a pandemic is hard, but still possible.
Piper received a reading via the Hyde Park Theatre.
Small Steps has an elaborate workshop at UC Davis, and with an Austin-based company, I’m looking for partnering organizations in hopes of a rolling world premier. It started as a play about someone who struggles romantically and offers to go alone to Mars. Act I, he’s on quarantine, and Act II, he’s going to Mars, so it makes sense both thematically and as a play that can be practically produced.
I was a playwright for Camp Shrewd, a mixed media piece that involved authoring letters, which were also turned into podcasts. I also made a piece of virtual theatre with the Vortex as part of the CoviDecameron project.
Theatre in educational spaces is still happening, so I’ve had a handful of productions.
I’ve continued teaching. Our school is mixed in-person and remote, almost entirely outdoors, which has made for the most difficult semester of my life.
Funny enough, while the circumstances are miserable, I love problem-solving, so there are these constant spurts of joy. Figuring out different improv games that we can play that are mixed in-person and online, for example. Creating a piece of devised theatre that is specific to the format. Even just jury rigging a microphone to work in a way no one ever intended. We are solving problems that never existed, and we are making bits and pieces of art that was unimaginable a year ago.
One major piece of art is my new play for my high school actors titled The Secret Lives of Gamers and Dead Astronauts. I wanted to make a play for the online format, one composed of Zoom calls, Instagram posts, Twitch Streams, even public access TV moments – and to write a play that took place in a world where Covid didn’t exist. There are some thematic crossovers with Small Steps, both because I’d already done some of the intellectual and artistic work to related to distance and because there’s some cool shit in Small Steps that I wanted to do with high school actors (like using a camera to artificially remove gravity).
Our performance was last week. We performed online, from six locations that we’d sent props and set pieces and costumes to. And it felt alive. Because we were streaming, we had all of the danger of a live performance – things could fall apart, we’d need to improvise, we’d need to problem-solve. And people from all over the country could watch the play.
I don’t know if anyone else is ever going to produce this play. My cast was tiny – five actors – thanks to Covid, and this is hardly optimal for high school plays.
And yet, what we made was something I’ll value until I’m dead.
Long time readers, you know the drill. I’ll revise the play, make a page, and post it ASAP. Also, I’ll do a longer summary on how we built this play. Contact me if you’d like to either watch the performance or read the pre-performance draft of the script.
Love to you all.