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      IT ALL WORKED by Thomas Putnam

      b23 21One of the poems in our show this past weekend was read by Taylor Nickerson. There's a line in it: “It's time for YES.” Every time I heard Taylor say those words I found myself repeating the word: Yes. Yes. It's time for YES. After struggling and searching and juggling for the past however many months, we came upon the plan of the zoomed staged readings. It made sense on paper, but I wasn't sure how it would play out. 

      First, I'm not a tech person, and even though every second grader is now an expert with ZOOM, I still feel completely out of my comfort zone thinking that a slight button push might turn the whole thing off or mute the program or something. 

      Also, I question asking a cast to commit to the huge time and energy requirements of a full-length show and then play it to a greatly reduced audience. I know that the process of a production is as wonderful and meaningful as the actual product, but I seem now to be more keenly aware of the reduction of the actual art form of theatre when performed without an audience or a greatly reduced one. I've learned that a nearby community theatre produced a full production this weekend and is planning a musical for next month. Every theatre must of course move in their own direction and make choices, but this just didn't seem to be right for us at this time.

      So this 30-minutes of staged readings seems to make sense. Actors do not need to spend the countless hours memorizing a 90 minute play, nor do they need to memorize anything. They can channel their energies into getting to know the character without all the memorization and without all the stage movement. With staged readings, there is no or very little movement.

      And it worked. We were thrilled with the Saturday and Sunday performances of BLESSINGS OF THE PANDEMIC and the talk-backs following were really enriching and rewarding. And people thanked us for doing it. I think they were thanking us for both the choice of this piece, but also simply for coming up with a cool choice of how to produce theatre in a way for our time. YES. The pieces of the puzzle seem to be fitting.

      The biggest challenge is working with licensing agencies to get royalties to record and zoom short pieces. All of the agencies are working from home and there is a great time-lag in correspondence, but...it's time for YES. We're working through this.

      As far the tech stuff goes? I've learned a lot in the past few weeks and as far as I know I hit the right buttons. The only thing I'm still working on is a response to one viewer's comment: “Did you really want to be seen eating while the show was being played?” I had no idea people could still see me up in the right hand corner while the BLESSINGS were being experienced. Ah well, I'll find out which button I need to push so I can eat privately as we all enjoy the next ZSR: POSTCARDS FROM A DEAD DOG.

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