How to Bring the Theatre to You
During this time of uncertainty, many of us who are safe and healthy find that that’s enough to be grateful for. However, it’s still nearly impossible not to suffer from boredom at some point. Not only have events been canceled, we can’t go out to see our friends, or even our best work/school chums. The bright side is that, in this day and age, there are still plenty of things we can do to entertain ourselves from the comfort of our own homes. We asked a couple members of the Shaker Bridge Theatre community what they’re doing for fun while self-isolating...
Theresa Kloos, who you may have seen in SBT’s last play of the season, Every Brilliant Thing, said, “End of the World movies are keeping me entertained (dark, I know). Some of my favorites include Shaun of the Dead, I Am Legend and Passengers. Throw in some Bradley Cooper (Star is Born and Silver Linings Playbook) and you’ve got yourself a great lineup.”
Susan Haefner, who’s most recent role at SBT was Pat in The Taming, said, “I'm staying busy by making videos in my yard of my favorite songs. I take requests! I’m thinking about starting a new craze, "Drive-by Theater" - taking requests and singing songs or reciting monologues for folks in their driveways, at a safe, safe distance of course. I'm also teaching virtual voice lessons. Suggestion for everyone - start or keep singing every day! It relieves anxiety and is good for the immune system. Singing in the shower counts!”
And while there’s nothing like a live show, there are actually many ways to stream various recorded theatrical productions online. We recommend…
● This performing arts streaming service has a catalogue of more than 400 dance, opera, and theatre productions.
● The Royal Shakespeare Company recently partnered with Marquee TV to make many of their productions available to stream, including Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, The Tempest, and many more. Plus, every Saturday they’re adding yet another RSC show to the lineup that’s already available for viewing.
● They offer a 30-day free trial to everybody.
● RSC members get a three-month free trial.
● Artistic Director Gregory Doran said in an interview for Broadway World, "Nothing can replace the experience of seeing a play live on stage. But with our theatres currently closed, and all of us spending much more time at home, we are pleased to be part of this initiative… Shakespeare speaks to us unlike any other writer, and this partnership with Marquee will enable everyone to enjoy his work, bringing us together virtually at a time when many of us will be apart."
● It’s becoming more and more common for Broadway shows to be filmed live on stage and then made available on streaming services. BroadwayHD is home to many of these performances, such as Falsettos, Nicholas Nickleby, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, Kiss Me Kate, Peter Pan, Present Laughter, She Loves Me, and many more.
● They offer a 7-day free trial.
● According to their website, their mission is to record and preserve great performances of important stage plays, using new technology to make world-class theatre accessible to the widest possible audience, and to expand the use of theatre as a teaching tool.
● What’s unique about their catalog of works is that it’s audio only. Have some quarantine cleaning projects you’re working on? Head to this website, pop in your headphones, and enjoy a work of art at the same time! Multitasking at its finest.
● Some of their most popular recordings include A View from the Bridge, Oedipus the King, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Crucible.
● This audio-only platform also has a library of theatrical works.
● The company has commissioned 25 new English-language works from theater playwrights and stages them at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York. These plays are recorded in studio or on stage and then released after, during or even before the run has begun. Titles offered include Feeding the Dragon, Proof of Love, An Act of God, and more.
● The country’s most produced living playwright, Lauren Gunderson, teamed up with the Hampstead Theatre to re-release the recording of her play I and You that was performed at Hampstead two years ago. How was this performance streamed? On Instagram of all places, for free! It was available to watch for a week in March on both Gunderson’s and the theatre’s IGTV channels.
● Gunderson has also taken to social media to offer free playwriting classes via Facebook Live. There are still classes scheduled for 4/1 and 4/8 at 3:00 p.m. EST and they’re open to all! Plus, the videos of her previous live classes are still on her Page, available to watch at any time.
When it comes to looking for more “live” performances to view, you should even give the popular streaming services a browse. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, and Apple TV all have at least a few theatrical performances available to stream, rent, or purchase. Maybe you’re looking for another writing project? Enter Shaker Bridge Theatre’s ten minute play contest!