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BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre Company

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During its UNDER CONSTRUCTION Zoom series

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre CompanyThe Road Theatre Company and Taylor Gilbert, Founder/Artistic Director together with Sam Anderson, Artistic Director, remain committed to their meaningful mission to produce and develop New Work for the Stage from the bottom up. With Carlyle King, Jessica Broutt and Carlos LaCamara, the dream was hatched along with a group of eleven playwrights, both emerging and established writers, who agreed to meet bimonthly to create and workshop new plays. They called their new group UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Each playwright entered the group with the beginnings of a new play to be developed collaboratively. This program is modeled for playwrights who would benefit from a structured space to receive feedback from peers, all in the supportive environment of The Road, whose mission is to develop socially and politically relevant voices and thoughts to the American stage, as well as continue to establish the company as a leader and champion of new work in Los Angeles.

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre CompanyThe group's new UNDER CONSTRUCTION, THE ZOOM SERIES features virtual readings of eight new short plays centering on topics relating to our current, challenging year during the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and how Zoom has changed social interactions. Streaming on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at 6pm Pacific, 9pm Eastern on www.roadtheatre.org/live and www.youtube.com/roadtheatrecompany/live. Ticket prices are a suggested donation of $15, but no donation is too small.

For an inside look at the creation of "Reach" by Jennie Webb, one of the four plays being streamed on Saturday, October 24 as part of the UNDER CONSTRUCTION Zoom series, I reached out to that play's producer Christine Joëlle, who shared how the short piece was created via a collaboration with the two musicians of firehill and their first song "Believe."

Shari: Tell me about the collaborative inspiration through music for "Reach."

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre CompanyChristine: Shawn Doll is a friend of mine I've known for years. He and his music partner Adam Bruce created firehill together and launched their song "Believe" on their YouTube channel in August of this year. Shawn Doll sent me a request to support their song on their YouTube page and to spread the word about it.

In early September, I was introduced to the UNDER CONSTRUCTION, THE ZOOM SERIES with The Road Theatre Company. As an active member of the company, I knew it was an exciting project to be a part of and so I jumped on board as a Producer for one of the 8-short plays to be featured. I have worked with director Susan Diol on a previous short play featured on The Road's Summer Playwright's Festival in July-August, which was The Road's first festival all on Zoom and broadcast on our Facebook and YouTube pages. That festival was an incredible success being viewed in over 6 continents and by over 17,000 viewers.

Shari: That is quite an accomplishment, a real tribute to how virtual theater is bringing the world together.

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre CompanyChristine: Because of that success, I just know the UNDER CONSTRUCTION, THE ZOOM SERIES shall be just as impactful. When I became producer for the short play, "Reach" by Jennie Webb. I quickly realized how special this piece was after reading it. And after watching our first rehearsals on Zoom, I instantly thought of the song, "Believe" by firehill since I knew it was a perfect song to use for the play's opening and end credits. It's a beautiful catchy uplifting song focusing on "Black Lives Matter" and matches perfectly with "Reach," which takes a peek at socially-distanced friends during a time when the dual pandemics of Covid-19 and racism hit bringing them together in revealing ways.

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre CompanyWhen I realized the song would make a perfect addition to the play, I contacted Shawn Doll to ask permission for the use of the song. To my great surprise, both Shawn Doll and Adam Bruce were fully on board and thrilled for us to showcase their music with our play. They gave us permission to use the song and images from their music video as well. And what makes this theatrical experience even more exciting is, not only are we at The Road showcasing work done by incredible playwrights, we are now with the play "Reach" also showcasing work by talented musicians as well. And we are thrilled how it all came together.

This whole UNDER CONSTRUCTION Zoom Series by the Road was created to showcase playwrights out to the world with their unpublished work. And with our play, "Reach." I extended that Olive Branch even further to include new music.

BWW Interview: Christine Joëlle of REACH at The Road Theatre Company

Shari: It's a real tribute to how all forms of the Arts can support each other to "get the word out" about their creations. Here is the YouTube link to "Believe" by firehill to inspire readers to donate and tune in to see "Reach" during the UNDER CONSTRUCTION, THE ZOOM SERIES :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azCWvspr_IU

Here is a short promo video about the entire UNDER CONSTRUCTION Zoom series taking place on October 23 and 24: https://roadtheatre.org/event/under-construction-playwrights-group-final/

Photos feature "Reach" cast members Brian M. Cole (top left), Judith Moreland (top right) and Carlyle King (bottom). Photo credit: Christine Joëlle


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From This Author Shari Barrett