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The Resident Acting Company Announces 2021 Titles for Play Dates With The RAC

Hosted by Kate Farrington, Artistic Associate, these evenings explore the background of the play and playwright.

The Resident Acting Company has just announced five dates in 2021 for it's extremely popular online series - Play Dates With The RAC. Audience members read a play, and then join the company online for a 90 minute Zoom session. Hosted by Kate Farrington, Artistic Associate, these evenings explore the background of the play and playwright, audience members enjoy live performances by members of the Resident Acting Company as well as guest artists, and they always end with a Q&A session when the audience can join the conversation. Tickets are already selling fast.

Tickets for these events are pay what you wish, and reservations can be made by going to racnyc.org and following the ticket links. Minimum ticket price is $1.

The Resident Acting Co has moved all of its programming online since the beginning of the pandemic. The RAC, a handle they are now known by, has been developing a blog and a podcast and these can also be found on their website - racnyc.org. Last year they produced and filmed "Play" by Samuel Beckett using Zoom, and it was available to watch for free until January of this year.

Bradford Cover, the Artistic Director of The RAC said, "Play Dates with The RAC has allowed us to really communicate online with our audience. It is online, so it feels a bit removed at first, but when Kate starts talking about the history and artistic intent of the play one forgets completely that one is online. She also uses these wonderful power point slides that give us all a visual cue into the story of the play's inception. Then the actors perform a few scenes and we all forget for a moment that we are on a Zoom call. It is really magic. We are starting with Macbeth because I am currently filming a version of it with 8th Graders for a school in New York City, and the play has been so present for me, that it made sense. Who knows, we may even get permission to show a clip."

Here are some details and descriptions of what The RAC has in store:

The series begins with William Shakespeare's Macbeth on March 25th at 6PM on Zoom. Shakespeare's Macbeth tracks the bloody rise and fall of the original power couple. Spurred on by prophecy, the Macbeths launch a murderous campaign that propels them to the height of political power. But their ambition will face a double check; the vengeance of those they've wronged...and their own twisted guilt.

Next up is Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro on April 22nd at 6PM on Zoom. Kennedy's surreal exploration of racial identity startled critics and audiences alike in 1961, opening a window onto the complex mental landscape of a young woman struggling to reconcile her biracial inheritance. In this "funnyhouse" we encounter the many selves clamoring for attention in Sarah's head-from Queen Victoria to Patrice Lumumba to Jesus. And these selves are interwoven with the painful memories of Sarah's parents: snatches of conversations, fleeting images flickering endlessly across her mind in this visual and poetic tour de force.

The third Play Date is Bus Stop by William Inge on May 27th at 6PM on Zoom. Inge's quiet examination of loneliness and longing introduces us to a mismatched group of passengers "just passing though" the American heartland who find themselves temporarily snowed-in at a roadside diner in the small hours of the night. In the short time we spend with them we witness happy meetings, missed connections, and inevitable heartbreak as these near-strangers search for connection in an increasingly alienating world.

After that The RAC will present King Hedley II by August Wilson on June 24th at 6PM on Zoom. Few playwrights have ever achieved something as ambitious as August Wilsons Century Cycle-a series of ten plays chronicling the experiences of African Americans across the 20th century. In King Hedley II, the commonplace struggles of a 1980s working-class family play out in a world where neither the past nor the future seem to offer any hope or guidance. Questions of manhood, honor, family, love, and death play out in a brutally real setting-while all the while a low hum of fate, fed by divination and sacrifice, force us to examine the "cycles" we cannot seem to break.

Finishing off the series is Our Town by Thornton Wilder on July 29th at 6PM on Zoom. Wilder's most beloved (and most underestimated) work Our Town offers snippets from a decade of everyday life at the turn of the 20th century. On the surface a quiet story of first love and first loss, Wilder's unconventional script slowly evolves from gentle nostalgia to heartbreaking grief-a grief made more powerful as the separation of audience and characters slowly melts away.


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