Monday, December 21, 2020

"Dickens' Holiday Classic" streaming from Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater has been presenting Charles Dickens' classic story A Christmas Carol for over 40 years. The show has gone through many iterations - different adaptations, different directors, different casts, different uses of music and dancing. 2020 sees yet another new version of the classic - a virtual one you can watch in your own home (for just $10 per household). Starting from an adaptation written by Dickens himself for the one-man-show he performed, Guthrie Artistic Director Joseph Haj teamed up with #TCTheater artist E.G. Baily, who also has a film company, to adapt and direct this piece, creating something entirely new. Not exactly theater, and not exactly film, the show combines bits of both media for an experience that is smaller, quieter, and more intimate than the Christmas Carol we're used to seeing on the Guthrie's thrust stage, but just as lovely, engaging, and moving as ever.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Virtual Holiday #TCTheater Shows

Well friends, we've nearly made it to the end of a very strange year, one filled with tragedy, grief, awakening, and maybe a little hope as we reexamine how and why we do everything, and have the opportunity to do it better. The holiday season obviously looks a lot different this year (and not just because there's no snow in Minnesota). But one thing remains the same - #TCTheater has produced an abundance of holiday offerings, virtual of course. Read through the list below (some of which I've watched already, some of which I plan to) and find one (or ten) that look appealing to you. Some are free to view or listen to, some are offered in exchange for a small fee, but regardless, please consider a donation to your favorite theater(s) as part of your end-of-year giving, if you're in a position to do so. I have great hope that theater will return in 2021, and donations help ensure that theater companies will make it through to that time. One thing I've learned this year is that artists will find a way to make and distribute art, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in.

Monday, December 14, 2020

"CenterPlay" - an audio play from Jungle Theater

The second of Jungle Theater's three-part "Jungle Serial" series is now available: CenterPlay is a 30-minute audio play from #TCTheater artist Vie Boheme, who wrote, directed, and performed in the piece. It's another engrossing audio experience, best enjoyed sitting or lying still with eyes closed to be fully absorbed in the story.

Monday, December 7, 2020

"Is Edward Snowden Single?" streaming from Jungle Theater

Jungle Theater's first ever virtual play Is Edward Snowden Single? is one of the best uses of this new medium that I've seen. Playwright Kate Cortesi wrote the play before this pandemic shut down all live performance, but the Jungle team has turned it into something that feels like it was written for this form that is sort of theater but not really, and sort of film but not really. Combining illustrations, animation, and fantastically versatile performances by two actors in front of green screens in separate locations, not to mention some pretty great voice acting, they tell this story of two best friends trying to navigate life, love, work, and the truth in a truly fresh and innovative 2020 kind of way.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The History Theatre's Virtual New Works Festival "Raw Stages," Fall 2020

Every January, the History Theatre hosts a new works festival called "Raw Stages." Most of their programming is original works, so they rely on these annual workshops and readings as part of the development process. Faced with a long closure of the theater space due to the current and seemingly never-ending pandemic, they decided to hold another "Raw Stages" festival this year - virtually. Workshops and readings are done over Zoom, with the each of five recorded readings available for streaming for a week, spread out about a month apart. I missed the first one, Not In Our Neighborhood (which was supposed to premiere in the spring of 2020), but I've watched the other four. The most recent and currently streaming is the delightful Betty Crocker Musical, with a live talk-back on Friday. Read on for details of all five new works and how you can watch them.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

"Family Dinner" streaming live on YouTube every Saturday from Huge Theater

Everyone's favorite improvised holiday* show returns this year! But instead of parodying that awkward in-person holiday dinner with family and/or friends, this year Family Dinner is parodying that awkward holiday zoom call with family and/or friends - what could be more perfect for 2020?! A new dinner is streaming on Huge Theater's YouTube page for the next three Saturdays at 8pm. I watched it last Saturday night (bonus: if you're a morning person like me you can watch it in bed and not have to worry about staying up past your bedtime) and it's just as hilariously awkward as always. The show is free to watch, no need for tickets or reservations, but if you watch it please do consider donating $10 or $15 or more to support these artists through this extended intermission.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

"Mondo Tragic" - an audio play from Jungle Theater

The first of Jungle Theater's three-part "Jungle Serial" series was released recently. Mondo Tragic is a 30-minute audio play written and performed by Eric Micha Holmes, with seamlessly integrated sound design by Omar Zubair. It's an intense and mesmerizing exploration of race, racism, and racial identity, that traverses from the Mondo films of the '60s and '70s to Rachel Dolezal. I recommend listening while lying on the floor with your eyes closed to let the sounds, story, and ideas wash over you without any external distractions.