Obviously the news this week has made it a little hard to concentrate on work, or anything else really, but all the more reason to find ways to divert your attention while we wait for vote counts to roll in. One election-themed Zoom play we’ve featured before has already had such success that it’s extended through Nov. 15: That’s the last day you can catch Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm (though probably not the last time you’ll hear about the influence of bots, sock puppets, and other online threats to the democratic process).
As usual, I’ve split these among live and asynchronous offerings. Without further ado…
Cleveland Public Theatre will present a Zoom adaptation of …Or Does it Explode? (Fri., Nov. 6, Sat., Nov. 7, Thurs., Nov. 12, Fri., Nov. 13, Thurs., Nov. 19, and Sat., Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. ET), written and directed by John Dayo-Aliya. The show uses poetry and dance to explore questions of what it means to be a young Black male in the 21st century. The cast will feature Austin Sasser, Benjamin Black, De Andre Hairston-Karim, and Dar’Jon Bentley. Tickets are available on a sliding scale of $1-99.
One way Zoom is working for kids, to the extent that it is, is if there’s an interactive element. To that end, Dallas Children’s Theater has launched My Faraway Adventure Kit, featuring local clown artists Slappy and Monday, which includes a box of tools and clues sent via the mail, which are then explored in an online experience designed to create virtual trips to exciting places around the world. Tickets are $70 per family; it’s best for kids aged 4 to 10. It starts today, Fri., Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. CST, with more performances Sat., Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. CST, Sun., Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. CST. Similarly timed shows will run every weekend in November; reserve tickets here.
The East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May, N.J. is presenting a fully staged Equity production of Nothing Matters, written by Dave Geible and starring James Rana and Gayle Stahlhuth, who also directs. In the play a poet seeks advice from the sharp-witted author Ambrose Bierce, who shares insights into the Civil War, politics, and journalism. Performances, which have already begun, run Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. ET through Nov. 21. Tickets are $15.
Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y., will present its first Digital Theatre Festival Nov. 6-22, featuring eight world premiere works presented both live and on demand. The programming will kick off with Goat Song, which runs live Fri.-Sat., Nov. 6-7 at 8 p.m. ET, on demand Nov. 7-22), written and composed by Matt Harmon, about an indie singer/songwriter struggling to connect with fans during a livestream concert. Brian Gallagher will star and Robyn Lee Horn will direct. Next up will be Big Breath, streaming Sat. Nov. 7 through Sun. Nov. 22, written and starring Elizabeth Gjelten, about a woman grappling with isolation in quarantine. Ansley Valentine will direct. Following will be Sheri Wilner’s LOL-OL, which runs live Fri. Nov. 13, Sun. Nov. 15, and Thurs., Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. ET, about a laughter yoga instructor navigating Zoom lessons, directed by Susan Drozd. Next will be Screaming Into the Void, streaming Thurs. Nov. 12 through Sun, Nov. 22, by Kira Mason, about four very different women questioning what they might have in common. Katie Horwitz will direct. Next is an on-the-spot improvised play, playing live on Sat., Nov. 14 and Fri., Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. ET, headed by Don Gervasi and Todd Benzin of the improv duo Babushka. Following will be a reading of Mystery Box, playing live on Sat., Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET, by Tom Alan Robbins, starring Mary Testa, Dakin Matthews, Wesley Taylor, and Helen Cespedes. The Alleyway will also present free readings of plays in development, including Red Alien, live on Tues., Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. ET, by Jane B. Jones; and The Mighty Maisie, live on Tues., Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, by Bella Poynton, both directed by Samantha Marchant. All performances, including free readings and performances on Facebook/Instagram Live, require pre-registration. Tickets for individual performances are $15, festival passes are $60, and tickets for the benefit reading are $65.
Women’s Theatre Festival, in Raleigh, N.C., will present Occupy the Stage 2020, its annual staged reading festival of previously unproduced plays by women and marginalized genders, virtually this year. Over the weekend of Nov. 6-8, the festival will present work from 40 playwrights, 42 directors, and over 130 actors, with each of those segments featuring 50 percent representation by artists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). All readings will be live-captioned and will air on WTF’s YouTube page. After the festival, recordings will be available to rent until Nov. 13. Tickets for individual shows range from $5-$10, with all-access packages available starting at $40.
For something more interactive, This is Not a Theatre Company is offering Readymade Cabaret 2.0, in which a dice roll by the audience will determine not only the scenes to be performed, but also their order. The performance, conceived and directed by Erin B. Mee, has “over a million possible outcomes,” and is based on Marcel Duchamp’s ideas around readymade art as well as the philosophies of Dada as practiced by Tristan Tzara. The production debuts Sun., Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. ET on the platform Shindig, with various showtimes available through Tues., Dec. 6. Tickets are are $25.
Armie Hammer has joined the cast of Sundogs,a new play by Howard Emanuel, directed by Heather Arnson, that will premiere on Play-PerView for the week of Veterans Day (which is next Wed., Nov. 11).The play follows a U.S. Army Sergeant as he embarks upon a spiritual rebellion, and will premiere on Sun., Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with a video-on-demand link available for immediate purchase, viewable Mon., Nov. 9 through Thurs., Nov. 12. Tickets range from $5 to $35, with proceeds going to Stop Soldier Suicide and the WDA, a new nonprofit theatre company that will be developing outreach to the veterans’ community, including placing vets in entertainment jobs.
New Ohio Theatre in New York City will livestream four new in-development works as part of its 2020 Producers Club. The lineup will include Keenan Oliphant’s The Self-Combustion of a 30-Something-Year Old Chet Or, Icarus Tries to Catch the Sun (Mon.-Tues., Nov. 9-10, at 7 p.m. ET), a performance poem chronicling a fictional Chet Baker, performed by Nicholas McGovern. Next up will be Currently Untitled (Another Karamazov Project) (Fri.-Sat., Nov. 13-14 at 7 p.m. ET), a freewheeling distillation of Dostoyevsky’s classic set in modern-day America, directed by Anna Brenner and created with an ensemble, starring Rami Morgan. This project was mid-run at the New Ohio when the pandemic hit and is now being developed for film. Following will be The Bath Play (Tues.-Wed., Nov. 17-18 at 7 p.m. ET), a virtual tour of a Japanese sentou, written and performed by Non Kuramoto. The final project will be Madeleines: Tell Me What It Was Like (Sat.-Sun., Nov. 21-22 at 7 p.m.), written and performed by Mike Lala and Iris McCloughan, about two poets navigating the past. Tickets are pay what you can, with a suggested ticket price of $10.
Stages in Houston will present the new musical Honky Tonky Laundry, by Roger Bean, live from the Max Levit Stage at the Gordy. The musical follows two women and their conversion of the town’s laundromat into its hottest nightclub. The cast will include Holland Vavra and Brooke Wilson, and Mitchell Greco will choreograph and direct. The show will livestream Tues.-Fri., Nov. 10-Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. CT, and Sat.-Sun., Nov. 14-15 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m CT. Tickets are $25.
New York City’s Primary Stages will present Chesney Snow’s Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay, as part of its Living Room Commissions series. The choreopoem, commissioned by Primary Stages, is an exploration of race, class, and American political culture told through the mediums of poetry, storytelling, dance, and music. Diedre Murray composed music for the piece. Opening night, Wed., Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET, will include an exclusive post-performance talkback and online celebration via Zoom with members of the cast and artistic staff. Other performances are offered Thurs., Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. ET; Fri., Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. ET; and Sun., Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Tickets are $36.50 for most performances, $50 for opening show and celebration.
This first one is technically not live, but the viewing window for the performance is short, so fair warning: Barakah Theatre, based in Cracow, Poland, will broadcast the play I, Irena Sendler, inspired by the biography of a woman who rescued Jewish children during the Second World War. The play will be available to stream for 24 hours starting Wed., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. CT; a meet-and-greet with the artists will be available online starting Sat., Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. CT (up through Dec. 31). The show is financed within the scope of the Multiannual Program Independent 2017-2022, as part of the Cultural Bridges subsidy program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis is taking its November festival to the airwaves, as it’s set to broadcast the 11-day festival on local radio station Classic 107.3 as well as the festival’s website. The festival will feature works that illuminate Williams’ St. Louis-based The Glass Menagerie, including a production of the seminal classic directed by Brian Hohlfeld. Other performances include John Guare’s You Lied to Me About Centralia, which picks up the story of the Gentleman Caller after he leaves the Wingfield home, and Michael Aman’s Glass, which follows Williams in the leadup to Menagerie‘s opening in pre-Broadway run in Chicago. You Lied to Me about Centralia will be directed by Rayme Cornell and Glass will be directed by Gary Wayne Barker. Performances will be followed by commentary from Williams scholars and will air multiple times on Classic 107.3. The festival will stream online for free on the festival’s website, which also has a full list of festival events, as well as Classic 107.3’s website through Nov. 15.
Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, as part of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts Fall 2020 remote season, is presenting Ride the Cyclone, with book and music by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richman. Elana Mirella Mariani will direct this comedy that follows six dead high school choir students as they try to win the favor of an elusive fortune telling machine. This production will be available via Broadway on Demand Fri., Nov. 6 through Sun., Nov. 15, with tickets available for $10.
For some family fun, Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre Company is presenting Last Stop on Market Street, adapted for the stage by Cheryl L. West, with music and lyrics by Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray Dozier. Based on the Newbery Award-winning book by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Christian Robinson, this musical follows CJ who, while staying with his over-the-top Nana, learns about his roots and that things are not always what they seem. This production, originally recorded in 2018 under the direction of Henry Godinez, will run Mon., Nov. 9 through Sun., Nov. 22. Tickets range from $25 to $45.
Ars Nova, through its new streaming platform Ars Nova Supra, is offering the first episode of Dylan Guerra’s Find Him, a four-part “Definitely True Crime” docuseries detailing Guerra’s deep dive for the truth after someone told Guerra he wanted to disappear. The episode, directed by Laura Dupper, will be available beginning on Mon., Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Episodes will then continue to roll out on Ars Nova Supra through December. A one-time ticket purchase of $10 includes access to all four episodes.
New York City’s the Resident Acting Co has released a short film of Play by Samuel Beckett. Shot entirely on Zoom with actors in different locations, it features three characters who are stuck…somewhere, as they try to understand their new reality. This film is free to watch through Jan. 19, 2021.
The national podcast Playing on Air is offering the short audio play How to Be a Widow, written by Emmy nominee Tori Keenan-Zelt. It finds two Civil War widows meeting on a sweltering afternoon at a graveyard. The play will be available via podcast and website beginning the morning of Sun., Nov. 8. Free. Available via the Playing on Air website as well as wherever you got your podcasts.
Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center will host the four-play series Recognition Radio: An Audio Play Festival Celebrating Black Voices, featuring the work of Black writers, directors, dramaturgs, and sound designers as they bring to life a mosaic of Black stories. Plays apapted for an intimate and immersive listening experience include Kirsten Greenidge’s Feeding Beatrice: A Gothic Tale, about a suburban home with a vicious intruder, available through Dec. 15; Chisa Hutchinson’s The Bleeding Class, a sociopolitical thriller about efforts to stem a plague, available Nov. 10-Dec. 31; Harrison David Rivers’s we are continuous, about a mother and her gay son’s coming out, available Nov. 24-Dec. 31; and Christina Anderson’s The Resurrection of Michelle Morgan, a poioumenon about an author at her wit’s end who gets a life-saving commission, available Dec. 8-31. More info here.
The title of this next one is a ride in itself, starting in Brecht territory and then making a sudden right turn. The Resistible Rise of J.R. Brinkley is a new play-via-podcast about a real-life 1920s-era con man who made a fortune selling his impotence cure (surgically implanted goat testicles) and went on to success as a politician. Written and directed by Edward Einhorn, each of the four episodes concludes with an interview with host Dan Butler and an expert on the play’s themes. It’s available where you get your podcasts; you can also find a link to episodes here.
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