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      ZOOMED BLESSINGS FROM THE PANDEMIC by Thomas W Putnam

      More and more we are recognizing that live theatre is truly only alive when there is a live audience. I do love the process and the rehearsals (where there is no audience) and all the exploration of character and plot and nuance and story and connections. The process is juicy and rich and stimulating and challenging; good stuff. In the past 12 months the reality of live audience, people actually in the same room, breathing the same air, smelling the same smells and in fact contributing to the communal smell, hearing the same voices and squeaks and whirrrs and creaks and hummmms and sneezes and coughs, feeling the same seats—well, this is all part of the richness of live theatre. So different from watching a film or even a filmed version of play in your own living room. So different.

      Our ZOOMED STAGED READINGS series is our meager attempt at coming a little closer to that richness. And the first one is this Saturday and Sunday and I am so hoping you can join us, and invite your friends. Each week for 8 weeks we're offering an invitation to join a zoom meeting wherein you will watch a 30 minute recording of a production and then stick around to talk about it. If all goes well—technology often has a mind of its own—we'll be able to at least see and hear those who'd like to respond to the production. We're starting off the series with a wonderful poem cycle written by playwright Rich Orloff.

      We've got eight actors reading from this cycle of poems dealing with life in the pandemic. It could be a real downer, but it's not. Those of us involved with the production have found these poems to often be an articulation of what we may have felt but just could not say so clearly...and artistically. The poems cover a wide range of experiences and thoughts that many of us have lived through these past 12 months, and they will help you to live through more months of the same. 

      Be patient with this first zoomed meeting. There is a separate password and code for the Saturday and Sunday meetings. Join a little bit early; we'll be ready by 15 minutes before “curtain time,” and that'll give you time to be joined and then get a cup of coffee or pop some popcorn before we begin. As I mentioned, there may be some technical kinks, but we'll do our best. Invite others to join; this may be one of the blessings of the pandemic: being able to join with others so easily from anywhere in the world. 

      Check out the HG website or fb page for the link (or password/codes). See (and hear and smell?) you this Saturday and/or Sunday. Peace.

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