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Open Book Theatre Launches One To One Virtual Theatre With A New Short Play, WHAT MATTERS

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The show has performances scheduled September 17 – Oct 1.

Open Book Theatre Launches One To One Virtual Theatre With A New Short Play, WHAT MATTERS

Open Book Theatre has been busy presenting short plays to small, socially distant crowds all summer, but as the weather turns colder, they're rolling out a series of online performances.

"Live performance and a relationship between the audience and the performer is what makes theatre different from film and television. It's the key ingredient that is missing from so many of the virtual theatre offerings I've seen," explains Artistic Director Krista Schafer Ewbank. "One of the things that Open Book audiences tell us they love about our space is how intimate it is: how they feel like a fly on the wall, or part of the action. So we're taking that intimacy even further with our One to One Virtual Theatre series."

One to One Virtual Theatre is exactly that... a one to one experience between the audience and the performer. It relies heavily on the relationship and energy that is created between an actor and the person watching the show. The plays are short, just under 10 minutes, and the length and format allow for the plays to be very responsive to current events, presenting material that goes deeper and opens conversation in ways more similar to the work Open Book is known for. "It's a very personal experience for everyone, and a way for us to get that emotional connection and catharsis that live theatre creates," says Schafer Ewbank.

The first show in the series is What Matters, written by local writer, performer and Kresge Artist Fellow Madelyn Porter and stars Assata Haki. It centers on a Detroit native whose daily walk spurs memories of the changes she has seen over the years, and pushes her to focus on what truly matters. The show has performances scheduled September 17 - Oct 1.

Tickets are $20, but a six show season ticket is being offered for $100. There will be a new show in October, November, January, February, and March. Open Book is working on a special December event that will preclude One to One Theatre and be a stand alone ticket.

The full season is still under development. In October Topher Alan Payne, who directed many shows at Open Book in its first three years before he moved to New York City, will be in the director's seat. "It's such a joy to be able to work with Topher again, " said Schafer Ewbank. "He's part of The Playwright Experiment in NYC, and is collaborating with playwright MX Sotero from that that group and an MFA student from Wayne State for our October offering," which will be about a social media influencer getting personal with her audience during a Halloween makeup tutorial. Upcoming themes include gratitude (November), new beginnings (January), and love (February, written by Joe Zarrow who appeared as Watson in OBTC's 2019 production of The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence).

"We're taking artistic risks," said Schafer Ewbank. "We're trying new things in an attempt to keep theatre alive during these times. We are paying actors and directors, commissioning playwrights, imagining new ways of doing things, and creating connection for our audience members. All of this is an important part of out mission, which is to promote connection through theatrical storytelling. We're excited about this new offering. It really boils down theatre to the basic components: a good story performed live for an audience."

More information about One to One Virtual Theatre, as well as Open Book's other offerings, can be found on their website, openbooktc.com.


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