Theater in Quarantine Continues with HYPOCHONDRIAC!¹ Performed by Joshua William Gelb, Featuring Jessie Shelton
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, July 2nd, Theater in Quarantine will premiere HYPOCHONDRIAC!¹ the first installment of a new adaptation of Molière's The Imaginary Invalid by David McGee and Joshua William Gelb. Featuring Gelb, Jessie Shelton (Hadestown), and Alex Hawthorne (Theater Mitu). Movement Direction by Katie Rose McLaughlin (Hadestown). Sound by Alex Hawthorne. Scenic/Lighting Design by Marika Kent. Video Design by Justin Nestor (Theater Mitu). This 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.
In support of the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests, all donations sent to Theater in Quarantine's Fractured Atlas page will be passed on directly to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. - America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.
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 two months, 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 followed by an unauthorized edit of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. And as New York City begins to reopen amid vital protests and the threat of a second viral wave, Theater in Quarantine remains dedicated to producing new live experiences while brick and mortar theaters remain closed.
"How can we artfully push against the boundaries of this new social distance to theatrically embrace the limitations of remoteness," asks 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."
Theater in Quarantine is free to view online, but all donations sent to his Fractured Atlas Page will be directed immediately to the LDF.: