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An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!

This Production Marks the Return of Live Audiences to The Alban Arts Center!

An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan

The Alban Arts Center has preserved throughout the pandemic, bringing quality theatre experiences to audiences via live stream while incorporating masks into their costumes to protect cast members. While a great alternative to shutting down for a year, watching shows via live stream will never be the same as experiencing the show from the theatre's seats - not to mention how difficult it is for performers to not have the live audience to feed off of. The energy between audiences and performers is one of the most important aspects of theatre and has been greatly missed.

Thankfully, as the vaccine rollout continues West Virginia is seeing restrictions which have been in place for over a year slowly being lifted. Among those is the shuttering of theatres to the public. The Alban Arts Center has wasted no time in ensuring that they are COVID protocol compliant to once again usher audiences through their front doors.

Alban Arts Center's upcoming production of Rikki Tikki Tavi will be the first show to have a live audience since early 2020. I spoke with Director Adam Bryan about the show, his thoughts on once again allowing audiences inside the Alban, and how the Alban will handle shows in the future.

An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan

"Rikki Tikki Tavi is the story of three unlikely friends - Rikki Tikki Tavi the Mongoose, Darzee the Secretary Bird, and Chuchundra the Muskrat - that discover that working together is the best way to overcome their obstacles. Their main obstacle being Nag the Cobra who terrorizes their happy garden home," explained Bryan.

"I remember watching the movie when I was little and always loved Rikki's kind and friendly personality, however when Nag came around, he turned into a fierce warrior that would protect his loved ones at any cost. I think that type of character and story is timeless," said Bryan when explaining why Rikki Tikki Tavi has endured since its inclusion in the 1894 The Jungle Book anthology.

"Everyone likes a good and adorable character that can fight a cobra to the death at a moment's notice, right? I think the exotic location of The Jungle Book anthology helps as well. The mystery and allure of such places will always excite younger audiences, and some older ones too."

An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan

The Alban Arts Center has poured hours of hard work into constructing the elaborate sets and costumes necessary to bring Rikki Tikki Tavi to life.

"The show is set in India, so everything costume wise is very much inspired by Indian culture and design - especially Colonial English India. Each character also has a unique animal headpiece that makes the actors look almost like life size puppets," explained Bryan.

"The set is a large garden - not where you grow your vegetables - but more of a walking garden with lush vegetation, bright flowers, and lots and lots of green leaves both above and below."

An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan
An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan

When asked whether he was excited for the return of live audiences, Bryan responded, "Absolutely! While I have enjoyed learning new things to further my craft over the last year - i.e. all things streaming - I cannot wait to get a live audience back. The interaction between a cast and audience is something that cannot be found anywhere else except live theatre. I can't wait to feel that energy inside the Alban again!"

Bryan will not be letting his newfound live stream skills go to waste now that audiences are returning though.

"For this production we will live stream every performance as well as have live audiences. I look forward to adding the new element of an audience into the live stream bucket as well," said Bryan. "I feel like with every show we did over the past year we added a new element or improved something that we didn't get quite right the first time. Adding a live audience and making that translate over the computer is going to be fun."

An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan
An Interview with Director Adam Bryan about RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, Opening This Weekend at THE ALBAN ARTS CENTER!
Photo Credit: Adam Bryan

When asked whether he thinks the Alban will continue offering live streams as the pandemic eases and more audiences are allowed to attend, Bryan said, "I have a feeling that the industry is leaning that way as a whole. I think moving forward whenever we can get both the live and streaming rights that we will offer at least one live stream show per run. I never would have agreed to that a year and a half ago, but now that we've figured out how to do it well, I'm more open to the idea and see it as an opportunity to share our art with a much larger audience."

While live audiences can attend upcoming performances, there are a few stipulations.

"Seating is general admission and we will be seating people with their group," explained Bryan. "We know that we will be able to have 50 tickets per night, but it's possible to have a few more. It just depends on the group sizes and how we can get everyone seated safely and socially distanced."

Show: Rikki Tikki Tavi
Show Dates: April 16th, 17th, 23rd, and 24th, 2021 at 7:00 PM and April 18th and 25th, 2021 at 2:00 PM
Theater: The Alban Arts Center
Location: 65 Olde Main Plaza, St. Albans, WV 25177
Ticket Cost for In-Person Attendance: $15.00 per adult, $10.00 per child 12 and under or seniors.
Ticket Cost for Live Stream: $15.00 for an individual, $25.00 for a couple, and $45.00 for a family.
Where to Purchase Tickets: Tickets for both the live stream and in person performances can be purchased here.


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From This Author Richard Allen