BWW Feature: Creative Quarantine presents LES MISÈRABLES IN QUARAN-STREAM
What do displaced actors during a pandemic do when there is no stage in which to perform? They take it to the internet, of course, and that is exactly what the company Creative Quarantine has done. CREATIVE QUARANTINE Presents LES MISÈRABLES In QUARAN-STREAM will broadcast Saturday, June 6, at 7 p.m., on their Creative Quarantine Youtube channel. Based out of Los Angeles, Calif., two dozen actors from all over the country, including Arkansas' own Piper Wallace, came together with co-founders and producers Benji Kaufman and Lara Lafferty to create a fully realized - and fully virtual - tribute to the beloved musical, LES MISERABLES.
"Theater has always found a way to survive the most catastrophic of events in human history. It adapts and reacts to the needs of society. I felt a need to do my part to keep theatre alive and try to find a way to be able to continue telling these stories," Kaufman said about the creation of the company.
Due to the COVID-19 scare, this project had all the actors record their roles alone. Cast members spent March and April recording videos of their respective parts, listening to a musical track and imagining their fellow actors around them as they filmed. Lafferty and Kaufman then edited these videos together to create a cohesive show. "Literally having to create the story around you the entire time - It's an incredibly challenging thing for an actor to do," said Kaufman. "With a process like this, the final product is all a mystery - all of the actors get to experience the complete show, for the first time, together."
Broadway World (Little Rock) is super proud that 12-year old Piper was included in this production and wanted to know what it was like to be in a show like this.
BWW: How did you hear about this?
PIPER: It was on Actors Access. I submitted an audition and then was asked to do a second video for a callback.
BWW: What challenges, if any, were there doing this in quarantine vs. in person?
PIPER: When we recorded, we couldn't have the music playing. It had to be playing in an earpiece, and it was a challenge to come in at the right time. During live productions, we practiced the music together for quite a while. For a production like this, you really have to have good timing.
BWW: Have you been able to make friends or other connections through this process?
PIPER: I have been able to make connections. We had a cast zoom meeting in the beginning. It was so fun to hear where everyone was from and hear their accomplishments. They are all so talented.
The cast features Ryan William Bailey as Jean Valjean, Trevor Martin as Javert, and Lillian Buonocore as Eponine. Rounding out the cast are Lara Lafferty (Fantine), Jake Nicholson (Marius), Sydney DeMaria (Cosette), Benji Kaufman (Thenardier), Sierra Naomi, (Madame Thenardier), Alex Gossard (Enjolras), Emmanuel Morgan (Gavroche), and Piper Jane Wallace (Little Cosette). Sophie Amelkin, Aiden Ankli, Abby Carlson, Bart Debicki, Jeanette Deutsch, Aaron Downs, Jessica Hayes, Jonathan Heller, Pedro Kaawaloa, Kevin Morgan, Sarah Jewel Proctor, Alex Schecter, Lea Sevola, Stephen Scott Stark, John Tedeschi, and Ryan Gregory Thurman complete the ensemble.
"I hope people will realize theater is always important, no matter what the circumstance," Piper said. "I'm super excited to see it when it comes out!"