I did a Zoom reading of Steel Magnolias with my former castmates. We had done the show in NY a few years ago.
That was my first foray into Zoom theatre, and it seemed to work. People still resonated with the characters and the story. We all laughed and cried.
So when I was asked to audition for Mixing It Up Productions’ Zoom presentation of the new play, “The Broken Closet,” I had a sense of what worked. I put the pdf of my script on screen and looked into camera, so it seemed as if I was talking directly to the other characters. I positioned the lights I had for self-tape auditions around my laptop so I was well-lit. And I did my usual actor work of breaking down the beats of the scene, focusing on what my character wanted.And you know what? It worked! I booked the gig!
Rehearsals were fascinating. Our director, Kristen Penner, helped us with the pacing, because for those who have Zoomed before, you know that hearing and talking to your fellow Zoom participants can be wonky. So imagine trying to do a dramatic scene where you have to break down and cry. Or fall in love. It can be done. Just like any theatrical experience, as an actor, I commit myself to the character living her life in the story of the play. There's just this extra technical experience of doing it all on Zoom.
Then I was asked to audition for and booked “The Cribbage Game,” which dealt with 3 middle aged folks finding the next chapter of their lives at a beach bar in Mexico. It was a beautiful piece, and I enjoyed playing Claire, a breast cancer survivor who goes from uptight spinster to a woman blossoming with love.
Theatre will always last because audiences want to be transported by a story that’s happening in real time right before their eyes. Theatre is a shared experience, and it truly can transform us all.