Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Final streaming dates found at lvlt.org
Did you watch the Mouse roar with the Disney+ streaming telecast of “Hamilton?”
Though I personally refused to feed the Mouse any more cheese than he’s already eaten, it’s a new era for the performing arts. Like it or not, here we are.
A number of Broadway shows are permanently gone, others are holding on until venues can reopen. But across the country, more and more regional and community theatres are jumping on board to save their companies from going under. And, they deserve our support.
Davenport Theatricals of New York (“Kinky Boots,” “Hairspray”) is a great champion for local theatre. They’ve sponsored a playwriting challenge this summer as a means to get the creative juices flowing. Why?
Because the big boys (well-known playwrights, their agents and royalty houses) have put a great big foot down and are refusing to allow scripts to be produced for streaming. It makes things both more difficult and easier. Difficult, because how do you attract an audience and retain patrons with unknown authors? Easier, because at least the producing organizations can save a few bucks on royalties. And, believe me, the next Neil Simon or Stephen Sondheim IS out there.
Las Vegas Little Theatre jumped into the new era with “The Quarantine Monologues.” A slate of locally written pieces describing what it has been like for all of us over these past months. So, I sat in my armchair, turned on my TV and logged onto the Zoom link. Evidently, my Smart TV isn’t smart enough for this new age of corona virus: Zoom decided it’s “not compatible with this device.” I hauled out my laptop, and kicked back. Felt like a kid again watching a 15-inch color television.
The monologues are a mixture of comedic (“Twelfth Day of COVID,” “In Line”), dramatic (“Socially Distant”), touching (“Germs Are Everywhere”), and one in particular is a might spooky (“I Don’t Like the Way My Cats Are Looking At Me”).
The acting and directing are top-notch here. The writing sometimes lacked. While Nicole Unger gives a wonderful performance as a mother trying to put on a happy face in “COVID Support Group for Moms,” the script is too long. Once it went to homelessness in India on train tracks, I stopped caring what this woman had to say. It was too focused to be unfocused stream-of-consciousness rambling.
When all things came together, as it did in “The Bored Room,” when Kim Glover let loose about her cell phone snapping indiscreet pictures of her, she imbibes wine and then put CheezeWhiz on a HoHo, it was laugh-out-loud funny.
Like other regional and local production companies, these have been recorded. You aren’t logged in to an actual Zoom meeting. It may not be the same as sitting in a darkened theatre, listening to the reactions and applause of fellow patrons. But, think of the perks: No noisy candy wrappers, no 6’-6” person sitting in front of you, no audience members near you talking over crucial lines of dialogue.
If you haven’t given this new attendance deal a shot, I encourage you to do so. It may be a while before we all meet back at the theatre and welcome the in-person annoyances.
“The Quarantine Monologues” has its final streaming tonight, July 20, 2020, at 7:00pm. Log onto LVLT.org for tickets.
Editor's Note: Additional dates have been added since this article's first publication. See lvlt.org for more information.