I am on day 59 of quarantine in my 700-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn. And while the virtual programming announcements keep coming, and my must-watch list grows and grows, I am finding that I want more than just something to see. I want something to do. So yesterday I learned how to juggle—yes, really. Under the tutelage of Scott Sheppard, the co-founder of Philadelphia’s Lightning Rod Special, I assumed the position of a juggler in my living room and attempted to simultaneously catapult three lemons into the air.
It didn’t go very well. But for a brief while, my hands were in motion and my brain was focused on fun. This how-to-juggle video tutorial was presented as part of the Wilma Theater’s series called Wilma Home Theater, launched by the company’s education department. If juggling isn’t your thing, this week’s Wilma Home Theater programming includes a crowdsourced poetry project and a workshop on monologue writing.
As we all enter Month Two of sheltering in place, I’m grateful that theatre’s virtual offerings are beginning to expand to include workshops, book clubs, podcasts, and more. Below are some more happenings this month to keep your brains (and hands) occupied:
On Wednesday, May 13, Queens Theatre is inviting its audiences to the kitchen. The theatre company’s free online Maker Series this month features basic cooking and baking skills. So if you need a lunchtime pick-me-up, join Marissa Troeschel, a finalist on The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition, and make some kitchen sink cookies. RSVP here for the 1 p.m. ET event.
I am very slowly making my way through one book this quarantine. (My aunt is on book No. 32). I clearly need some accountability to read—which is why I was excited to see that the Old Globe in San Diego is hosting a reading group. On May 15, readers will gather online to discuss Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Henry V with literary manager and dramaturg Danielle Mages Amato. Check the On Book: The Old Globe’s Reading Group on Facebook for information about future gatherings.
Also at the Old Globe will be Bill Irwin’s In-Zoom, a 10-minute world premiere play starring Irwin and Christopher Fitzgerald. The pair, who will be Zooming in from California and North Carolina, will be showcasing physical comedy on the platform. You might just learn some funny tricks for your next staff meeting. The play will stream on the Old Globe’s YouTube channel on May 14 at 9:30 p.m. ET.
In addition to experiencing new plays at this time, I have been able to check shows off my list of theatre regrets. Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline, at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017, is a production I was sorry to miss in New York. Starting on May 15, LCT will be streaming this archived production, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, free on BroadwayHD for one week. BroadwayHD subscriptions start at $8.95 a month.
Starting May 18, Colorado’s Creede Repertory Theatre will be streaming David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy Ripcord, which was performed there last summer. The play follows a cantankerous woman in an assisted living facility who is paired with an energetic roommate. Hilarity ensues. Anne Faith Butler and Christy Brandt star, and Billie McBride directs. Tickets are available for $20 through May 31.
In this time of quarantine, I have been making a list of all the theatres that I haven’t been to and would like to visit after marquees are once again lit. On that list is NYC’s Irish Repertory Theatre. (I know, I know!) So I’m excited to be able to “visit” from my couch and experience its new production of Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney, starring Geraldine Hughes, Paul O’Brien, and Ciarán O’Reilly. The production, directed by Charlotte Moore, will be available for free May 12-15.
In addition to missing theatre outings, I have been missing perusing museums and spending an afternoon among artwork. The Al Hirschfeld Foundation has just launched a digital edition of “Socially Distant Theater,” an up-close look at portraits of actors practicing social distancing onstage (ha ha) in solo shows. The collection includes a drawing of Julie Harris in Belle of Amherst and a sketch of Lily Tomlin in Appearing Nitely. The exhibit will be available online through June 6.
Podcasts are something that fell away from my routine when I stopped commuting. But Broadway Podcast Network‘s episodic show “Bleeding Love” has been a great listen while I am washing dishes. (I am never not washing dishes.) The three-part musical show features a stellar cast that includes Annie Golden, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Marc Kudisch, Sarah Stiles, Taylor Trensch, and Tony Vincent. It’s about a girl who is trapped in her apartment because it is too dangerous to go outside. Sound familiar?
On May 15, Phoenix’s Space55 will debut Radio Free Europa by Ashley Naftule. It will be performed live, on Zoom, but the cameras will be off! Listen along to the music, sound effects, and voices telling a story about a late-night radio station receiving calls about flying UFOs, Bigfoot, and chupacabra sightings in the desert. The show will be available for free through June 7.
Dinner-at-home date nights in quarantine have lost their flair. This week, I am planning a virtual outing to Chicago’s Second City, a place where my fiancé and I had a memorable date night a few years ago at a late show with a bucket of beer. The improv troupe will be going live on Zoom with Improv House Party! Upcoming offerings include Helter Skelter on May 14, Scriptless on May 15, and Girls Night In on May 16. It’s free to join the call—but know that audience participation is still expected from your couch!
May is usually a month full of theatrical events and press parties. On May 19, I plan to put on a party dress and celebrate the launch of the publication of The Kilroys Vol. Two with Theatre Communications Group on Zoom. The book features scenes and monologues from 67 women and nonbinary playwrights, with a foreword by Lynn Nottage. Tune in to toast with the Kilroys and enjoy some readings from the book. RSVP for the free event here.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!