An already unstable post-winter has bled right through a full season of COVD. A pandemic mixes with calls for long overdue equality and a complete re-thinking of the way the police are allowed to operate. Welcome to July of 2020.
Digital Bardery in the Age of COVID
The local small stage continues to pause as one of the largest multiplex chains in the state opens some of its doors for the summer. Local shows that had been previously announced continue to recede into the future. Optimist Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park program recently announced the postponement of its production of Romeo & Juliet to the summer of 2021. Nevertheless, the Optimist has got a host of things planned for the near future including a mysterious project that they’re calling “No Holds Bard.” Not to be outdone by Optimist’s wordplay, Voices Found Repertory has been posting a series of behind-the-scenes videos that it’s calling the “Build-A-Bard Workshop.” (...sigh...) Don’t let the name fool you, though...this has actually been a really fun series that’s looked at the nature of producing a small-stage show. Every Monday, Voices Found’s cleverly charming Education and Hospitality Director Hannah Kubiak and the Skull of Yorick introduce an in-depth look at a different aspect of production. (Kubiak and the skull evidently had yesterday off.) The first episode had Company Manager Sarah Zapiain discussing the first considerations when beginning work on a production. The second episode had set designer Michael Cienfuegos Baca talking about scenic design. The series continues every Monday on Voices Found’s YouTube Site. Part 4 goes live on July 6th.
ALSO local rehearsal-free theatre company Boozy Bard continues its online shows this month with Shakespeare Raw(ish?):Much Ado About Nothing. The show goes very, very live at 7:00 pm on July First. The group had departed a bit from its standard unrehearsed format last month with a videoconference-style broadcast of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Musical Danger with Milwaukee Opera Theatre
With an impressive cast moving through a fun, pulpy action story, Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s Doc. Danger and the Danger Squad is one of the more enjoyable bits of online fare to come out of local theatre groups online since the pandemic first came into town. The impressive cast includes Briana Rose Lipor, Carrie Gray, Stephanie Staszak, Becky Cofta and more. The series is updated weekly every Thursday. As of this post, the first two episodes are available.
Milwaukee Chamber In A Rectangle
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre collaborated with Chicago’s Three Crows Theatre this past month for Zoom-based reading of Milwaukee playwright Liz Shipe’s A Lady In Waiting. The Robin Hood comedy that focussed on Maid Marian as action hero made a surprisingly well-produced transfer to Zoom. Directed by Jennifer Vosters the reading included the talents of Anna Cline as Maid Marian, Jonathan Wainwright as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Josh Krause as Robin Hood. Once a gain, Kelly Doherty shows a great deal of depth and comic poise in a role that she debuted with Theater RED back in 2014.
Visit The Mesopotamian Underworld Live Via Facebook
This month, Milwaukee Chamber presents an online reading of Eric Schabla’s Reign/Fall. Set in the legends of ancient Mesopotamia, the reading features Allie Babich as the war and love goddess Ishtar journeying into the underworld to visit her sister. Her absence from the realm of the living causes upheaval in a reading which also features Cassandra Bissell as Ereshkigal--queen of the underworld and Elyse Edelman.
Cassandra Bissell as the ruler of the underworld? (So cool.) She’s been memorably impressive in a couple productions in recent memory. I loved her as a highly influential astrophysicist for Next Act and charismatically heroic Sherlock Holmes in Door County. She's a perfect fit for the role of a goddess.
Like Lady in Waiting, Milwaukee Chamber's online reading of Reign/Fall will be presented on Facebook. The show starts at 7pm on July 8th.