Theater in Quarantine to Premiere BOX THREE. SPOOL FIVE. A PIECE OF KRAPP
Theater in Quarantine is a new performance laboratory from writer/director/performer Joshua William Gelb dedicated to the exploration of the theatrical experience inside the digital space. On Thursday, May 14th, Theater in Quarantine will premiere Box Thrree. Spool Five. A Piece of Krapp, an unauthorized culling from Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape with music by Alex Weston (The Farewell) and choreography by Katie Rose McLaughlin (Hadestown). The new work will premiere live on Gelb's YouTube channel at 7PM and 9PM. Each 20-minute performance will be followed by an opportunity to chat with Gelb about Theater in Quarantine and the challenges of making work in isolation.
Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic closed all theaters, Gelb transformed a closet inside his East Village apartment into a white-box theater. Gelb says, "When everything shut down, I set out to adapt to the digital form without sacrificing the integrity of the live event, or what we might consider our shared theatrical values. I'm also interested in figuring out how we might continue responsibly collaborating even while we social distance."
For the past six weeks, Gelb and his collaborators have been releasing pre-recorded studies in movement, clown, camera orientation, and perspective as they build towards more complex theatrical experiences. Weeks ago, they premiered the project's first live-stream performance: an adaptation of Kafka's The Neighbor, with sound design by Gavin Price (Elevator Repair Service) and choreography by Katie Rose McLaughlin (Hadestown).
The Theater in Quarantine season will continue with live-stream performances every other week including:
May 14th: Box Thrree. Spool Five. A Piece of Krapp, from Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape
May 28th: Closet Works, an evening of short-form projects featuring the work of Katie Rose McLaughlin, Alex Weston, Ellen Winter (36 Questions), among others.
June 11th: A new work inspired by Barthleme's GAME, by Scott Shepard (Underground Railroad Game)
June 25th: Hypochondriac 1, the first installment of a new adaption of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid
"How can we artfully push against the boundaries of this new social distance to theatrically embrace the limitations of remoteness," ask Gelb. "I often think about Peter Brook's invocation of the empty space when standing in front of my closet. How can this utilitarian container, so uncomfortably small, so disproportionate in its aspect ratio, become a stage for the imagination? And it's here I find the central metaphor, and perhaps appeal, of the entire project - it's about as obvious as you might expect - that my attempts not only to make art in this confinement but to exist whatsoever, are not so dissimilar from what many of us are experiencing. There is frustration, and boredom, and lots of loneliness. But there is also great potential and for once an expanse of time that we have the chance to fill not with mere anxiety but with the thoughtful, rigorous creative impulse."
About the Artists
Joshua William Gelb is an East Village-based director, performer, and librettist currently building theater out of his converted closet christened the Theater in Quarantine. Prior to the pandemic, Gelb created the musical interrogation of the 1927 Al Jolson film Jazz Singer (New Yorker critic's pick) which was commissioned and built-in residence at Abrons Arts Center with Nehemiah Luckett. Previously in residence at Abrons, Gelb conceived and directed the sesquicentennial anniversary reimagining of America's supposed first musical The Black Crook (NYT Critic's Pick), about which he lectured at Harvard University's Houghton Library. His Drama Desk-nominated adaptation of A Hunger Artist, created with Sinking Ship, continues to tour. Other work has been presented at Ars Nova, LMCC Process Space, New Ohio, Joe's Pub, Polyphone Festival, and Target Margin. Gelb participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, is an associate artist with Sinking Ship, and teaches Theater Collaboration at Cooper Union. joshuawilliamgelb.com
Katie Rose McLaughlin is an NYC-based choreographer for theater, film and opera originally from Minneapolis, MN. Notable credits include ORLANDO (Williamstown Theatre Festival), BEAR SLAYER (Ars Nova), THE BLACK CROOK (Abrons Arts Center), INDECENT (Weston Playhouse), and working as Associate Choreographer on the Tony award-winning Broadway show HADESTOWN. She is also the Artistic Director of Designated Movement Co., a dance/theater company interested in blurring the lines between forms. katierosemclaughlin.com
Alex Weston is a composer and producer. His film scores have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlinale, the Venice Biennale, and Slamdance. His music has also been featured on The Affair (Showtime), the Ken Burns-produced documentary The Emperor of All Maladies (PBS), and various projects for HBO, NBC, Netflix, and others. His music for Lulu Wang's Golden Globes-winning The Farewell, starring Awkwafina, which premiered theatrically in July 2019 via A24, was shortlisted for an Academy Award for 'Best Original Score'. His most recent score, for Tara Miele's Wander Darkly, premiered January 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival. Alex has had concert works commissioned by the Lyrica Chamber Music Ensemble, ABCIrque, the Utah Wind Symphony, MADArt Creative, Ballet in the City, and other organizations. Alex has also released several albums of original compositions. Musically, Alex's work tries to encapsulate his wide-ranging influences, combining classical structure, orchestration, and melody, with electronic timbres and instrumentation.
Theater in Quarantine presents
Box Thrree. Spool Five. A Piece Of Krapp
Text by Samuel Beckett
Conceived and performed by Joshua William Gelb
Music by Alex Weston
Choreography by Katie Rose McLaughlin
Thursday, May 14th @ 7PM and 9PM
Theater in Quarantine is free to view online, but donations can be made to Gelb and his collaborators at his Fractured Atlas Page: