BWW Review: Local Artists Defy The Coronavirus ~ Virtually Rise To The Occasion
Notwithstanding the anxieties associated with the COVID-19, artists, driven by an innate determination to withstand all forms of trial and tribulation, are taking to the cyberwaves to create a virtual extension of theater life.
In my last BWW article about initiatives to keep the stage lights burning, I featured the work of All Puppet Players and the Brelby Theatre Company.
Here are more examples of local efforts by companies, individual performers, and collaboratives in the Phoenix Metro region to engage and entertain and sustain the power of community:
Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre director and actress Virginia Olivieri has put out the call to high school and college seniors to submit videos their songs, monologues, or dance routines. Recognizing that many students are experiencing the disappointment and frustration of cancelled productions, performances, and showcases, the company is creating the opportunity to present their work live on SDST's Facebook page and IGTV. Once the videos are shared (by March 25th) and uploaded to YouTube, the company will assemble the pieces and the final showcase compilation will premiere at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27th. #DSTSeniorShowcase
Seth Tucker, who has frequently been the object of our praise for his versatility and compelling performances, not only breathes theatre but also walks the talk of his caring for the art form and the well-being of his comrades, In his announcement of a special initiative, he observes that "During these difficult times artists have lost most sources of income with every show being canceled. With everyone at home, we can still offer local entertainment. When you support Arizonian artists you keep LIVE performances Alive!"
Accordingly, he has banded together with Valley favorites to perform GARAGE CONCERTS LIVE! The first Episode streams on Facebook Live at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th and will feature Seth and local shining stars Trisha Ditsworth, Sime Kosta, and Mary Ott. Future episodes will feature Toby Yatso, Nicholas Hambruch, Alyssa Chiarello, Cassie Chilton, and Kyle Sorrell. The intent is to have the performances sponsored through grassroots donations. To donate or sponsor future performance, interested parties can link to https://tinyurl.com/r524qdh.
Southwest Shakespeare Company's production of BECOMING OTHELLO ~ A BLACK GIRL'S JOURNEY, featuring Debra Ann Byrd, was to have had a couple final performances before setting out on a National Tour. The 90 minute, 5-Act memoir focuses on "a young woman's trials and triumphs with race and the classics, her memorable experiences growing up in East Harlem, and her gender flipped journey on the road to becoming Shakespeare's noble, flawed general." "The solo show is complete with moving songs and lyrical language from Black women playwrights, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and the King James Bible." Unyielding in its desire to expose the production to its audience, the company, following the actions of other companies throughout the country, presented a virtual live reading of the show.
In the same vein, watch parties have been formed to present live streaming experiences. One such gathering of talents is BETTER TOGETHER: A LIVE STREAM EXPERIENCE. Featured artists include Cynnita Agent, Rapheal Hamilton, Ashley White, Ernesto Ortiz, Vaughn Willis and Ear Candy, Ashley White, and Racquel Mckenzie.
These examples, and more to come, are all living proof that the show will go on!
Poster credit to Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre