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The Living Mural Brings Live Theater To Central Park

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The Living Mural includes new works written by Niccolo Aeed, Amina Henry, Arika Larson, April Ranger, Charles Gershman, Maiken Wiese and more.

The Living Mural Brings Live Theater To Central Park

A group of theater artists, unable to produce traditional theater amidst the COVID-19 crisis, have come together to create the Living Mural, a free, socially-distanced performance along the Mall in Central Park.

The piece features a number of performers in one- and two-person "pods" performing both classical monologues and new works commissioned just for the Living Mural. Actors perform along a stretch of the Mall, and passers-by are invited to stop and watch one piece, or many. Pieces run between 60 and 90 seconds each - a perfect little bite of theater - and they are available to watch on Saturdays any time between 1 and 4 pm.

For safety reasons, performers and audience wear masks, and chalked lines keep them 6 feet apart. The short run-time of the pieces keeps large crowds from gathering all at once; rather, people stop to watch a few pieces and then move on.

The creators of the Living Mural state:

"The Living Mural is a direct theatrical response to the Coronavirus crisis in the United States and specifically New York City. We seek to present theater safely and without formalities: our performance is short, raw, and responsive. At its heart the Living Mural supports the relationship between actor and audience sharing a (socially distanced) space together. We believe in the power of theater to support and creatively nurture communities. We miss making theater and we want to provide a safe environment to create live performance.

"As New Yorkers, we are accustomed to a variety of interactions with strangers in our day-to-day lives. Suddenly those interactions are fraught. We are now thinking about how to keep ourselves safe: is that person wearing a mask, what does 6 feet away really look like, do I have enough hand sanitizer, why is it still impossible to buy Clorox wipes? At the Living Mural we strip away the anxieties related to social interaction. All of our actors and audiences wear masks, we are outside, and we stand 6 feet apart. All you have to do is show up and experience a minute-long piece of theater. Perhaps you want to stay and watch another or have a short conversation; perhaps you want to continue on your day.

"Like a mural, we are responding to and commemorating a specific moment in time. This moment. The time for this work is now, when live, in-person performance is needed more than ever."

The Living Mural is directed by Anna Strasser and produced by Diana Levy. Production design is by Susanne Houstle.

The Living Mural includes new works written by Niccolo Aeed, Amina Henry, Arika Larson, April Ranger, Jacob Marx Rice, Cherry Lou Sy, Charles Gershman and Maiken Wiese.

The rotating cast of performers is: Samuel Adams, Vanessa Chia Chung, Benjamin Farha, Amina Henry, Ash Mayers, Joel Repman, Katie Repman, Matty Sangare, Kaila Saunders, and Kaitlyn Schirard.

Anna Strasser (Director) is a New York director who is passionate about developing new works. She recently completed her thesis project, Must Wash Hands, a new play by April Ranger. Last summer she directed Jacob Marx Rice's Leni & Joseph, produced by The Shelter at the New Ohio Theater. She previously directed Rice's Chemistry and Coping, both of which were extended as a part of the New York International Fringe Festival Encores series. She recently directed the premiere of Jerry Lieblich's I'm So Hungry I Could Fuck a Horse (Brooklyn College). Other credits include The Last First Date (Sam French OOB Festival), Concertina (Exquisite Corpse Company), I Was Loved by a Rat (FringeNYC) and About Face (The Brick). She has a BA from Oberlin College and MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College.

Diana Levy (Producer) is the Managing Director of Torn Out Theater, best known for its Naked Shakespeare in the Park series. Her company management and assistant company management credits include All the Rage (2013 Lortel Winner), Eve Ensler's Emotional Creature, Murder for Two (New World Stages), and the Season of Cambodia arts festival. She has also done producing and marketing work for FringeNYC, the Cake Shop Theater Company, The Brewing Dept., and Smith Street Stage. Diana holds an MFA in Theater Management and Producing from Columbia University.

Location: The Mall in Central Park (map)

Time: Saturdays, now through Sept 26, 1-4pm (weather pending). Pieces are 60-90 seconds and run continuously through that time; audience members can arrive at any time in that window.

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