This Week’s hottest ‘Zoom theatre’ & other virtual performances

In the Age of Covid, many performers and theatremakers have started exploring the murky waters of the online platforms. Here are some of the best online events coming this week.
“File:Black light theatre Prague HILT 03.jpg” by Black light theatre Prague is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

In the Age of Covid, many performers and theatre makers have started exploring the murky waters of the online platforms. You can now watch Zoom performances, online improvisations, live streamed musicals and even brush up your Acting skills. The bright side of this online alternative? You don’t need to travel to see international performances, and most of these events are completely free! 

Online shows coming this week

  • TWENTY FIFTY at Dublin Fringe Fest – 14 – 18 September, 19:30. An Interactive theatre piece on Zoom, a live improvised game between an actor and an invited guest. Beginning in the form of an intimate interview, they attempt to get to the heart of the question: what would you save from the fire? 
  • Free Shakespeare at Home: King Lear by San Francisco Shakespeare – 19 and 20 September. The production is described as ‘their unique response to the current pandemic that may keep us from gathering in parks, but not from sharing art in the virtual realm’.

This is only one offering in a new ‘Zoom Shakespeare’ genre. During the pandemic, a new theatre, called Zoom Theatre was established and they, along with many other theatres, are adapting Shakespearean plays for Zoom.

Some of these performances are available on Youtube.

ZOOM Benefit A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s 456th Birthday Celebration.
Prague Shakespeare Company.
  • Frictionless by Declan Keeney- 17 September. Frictionless is a Virtual Reality film which presents stories related to The Troubles and lives and incidents on the Border. According to the announcement, the participants were filmed in the location of their story, and post-production VR technology recreates the sights and sounds of the story being told.
  • Run of the Mill Theatre’s Quarantine – 18 September. The film is especially created for Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir 2020 and is a performance of Eavan Boland’s evocative famine poem Quarantine. ‘Quarantine’ is performed by Mark Smith who has been appointed the Leinster Trailblazer for Culture Night 2020. The film also features Jackie O’Hagan and is directed by Aisling Byrne.
  • Streaming: She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms by Washburn University Theatre – 18 and 19 September. The streaming version of a drama-comedy play about a woman who embarks in an adventure to get to know her dead sister better by playing a Dungeons & Dragons module that the sister had written before her death. 
  • HILT Black light theatre live stream from Prague, Czech Republic – 15 September at  7:00 PM – 7:30 PM CEST.  You can expect ‘magic shows in the darkness with UV lighting, shining costumes, flying dancers’, see the parts of the show and interviews with the actors (the interviews are also available in English).
  • Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street by Culver City Public Theatre – 16, 19 and 20 September. This family-friendly show on Zoom is with an anti-bullying message that aims to provide important lessons in problem solving and empathy. It features an ‘intrepid band of actors will use humour, logic, and song to perform this original tale (adapted from the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)’. The show is written by David Hansen and directed by Marina Tidwell.

“Matthew Lillard Acting Workshop at VFS” byvancouverfilmschool is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There will also be acting sessions and workshops for professionals and theatre-lovers:

  • Weekly Acting Workouts with Donnacadh O’Briain – 17 September. Award winning director Donnacadh O’Briain will be looking at a different script each week and will lead a series of laboratory style rehearsal sessions. Though there are a few Zoom adaptations to these classes, it’s a good opportunity to ‘keep those acting muscles working while the industry is in lockdown’.
  • An Open Mind: Virtual Dramatic Workshop & Reading by Write Pittsburgh – 19 September. The workshop offers a chance to ‘delve into the mind of a person you admire’ by writing and performing a monologue from their perspective. The event will be hosted by playwright and theatre instructor Jennifer Schaupp. Point Park University students in Writing, Film, and Theatre will be available to offer tips and support. 
“Audience at Humanities Theatre” by batmoo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are also some upcoming online webinars which look pretty educational, judging by the descriptions:

The guests will be Arianna Afsar, a half Bangladeshi and half German American singer and actress who had a starring role as Eliza in Chicago’s Hamilton; Diana Huey, a Japanese American actor and singer known for her year long run as Ariel in Disney’s tour of The Little Mermaid; Ali Ewoldt, a Filipina American actress and the first Asian to play Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway; Julia Harriman – a half Asian and half white actress known for playing Eliza in the And Peggy Company Third National Tour of Hamilton. 

  • Lessons from lockdown by The Space – 16 September. This is a free webinar hosted by The Space UK, in association with Arts Council England. The creators of three new works themed around lockdown will share insights from their productions.

It might not be the full experience but it’s still a great way to keep the Arts in your life (and maybe even support them) while you’re staying completely safe in the comfort of your home.

Exploring the digital medium is a great way for artists and organisations to try to make up for the loss of live performance but there’s still an ongoing issue with fair pay for online work in some countries.

The National Campaign for the Arts Ireland recently published a pre-budget submission where they suggested that the government transposes the EU’s Directive on Copyright for Digital Single Market into national law so that fair remuneration for online creative content is ensured.

You can read more about that here.

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