Burien Actors Theater 2020 season will happen online
information from Burien Actors Theater
I think this goes without saying, that these are difficult times. However, no matter how isolating social distancing feels, even in tough times there are always things to look to for comfort. Things that take our mind off of our current situation, or at least give some sense of normalcy.
This is where the Burien Actors Theatre steps up to rescue us all from our collective quarantine induced boredom.
While BAT’s theatrical season was cut short by the current global pandemic, it isn’t going quietly or without consequence. In typical BAT fashion, it will proceed to end the season by trying something new and bold. BAT is presenting their next batch of shows over the internet, using the online video communication app Zoom. By bringing an age-old entertainment format up to speed using 21st century technology, we get what I can only assume to be one of the first theatrical presentations to be live streamed to a socially distanced audience.
BAT is planning a series of these readings, each a different show for the weekend. Starting with “The Letters”, a show that BAT had previously done, which I had the opportunity to review. While there are clear differences between each version of the production, most of the key story telling devices are still present, and may even do them slightly better.
The performance itself is a surprising trade-off, the format loses its live-and-in-person feel, for one that feels more normal for our times. It feels as if you are watching two people having a conversation via Skype, or in this case Zoom. While it did take a while to fully draw me in, once achieved it became hard to look away.
The expressions on the readers faces were right there on your screen, the tension was palpable between Anna and The Director, and their anger and frustration are clearly emoted in front of you. Each actor is shown on screen as they speak, giving back and forth dialog a sort of quick cut effect, a trick used by film directors to help a scene build tension.
I found “The Letters” to be a perfect story to trial this form being a dialog dense cold war thriller. The story twists and turns through the characters discourse as the pair try to stay ahead of each other. While I found it a bit daunting sitting still for the two hour run time, it was still very much enjoyable. Never-the-less I am very excited to see the other stories that BAT has planned.
The upcoming BAT Shelter-in-place show times are as follows:
Ripcord – A comedy about a pair of feuding widows, fighting over the bed next to a window in an assisted living facility. Airs May 16 @ 8pm and May 17 @ 2pm
Zombie – An adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates novella about a psychopathic pedophile who tries to turn its victims into the living dead. Airs May 30 @ 8pm and May 31 @ 2pm
Hindle Wakes – A period piece set in a 1912 United States that examines gender relations and societal expectation from over a century ago. Airs June 13 @ 8pm and June 14 @ 2pm
They Promised Her the Moon – The inspiring true story of Jerrie Cobb, detailing the life of a world record breaking aviator and almost astronaut. Airing June 27 @8pm and June 28 @ 2pm
The Burien Actors Theatre is taking donations for a link to the stream. A more detailed description of each production, as well as donation links, can be found at https://burienactorstheatre.org/shows/shelter-in-place-season-2020/.
While this is not the same as going to see an actual BAT show, it does offer a number of comforts to the alternative. Snacks and drinks are only limited to what you have at home. Clothing is optional, as long as you avoid using your webcam.
I would also advise you start the Zoom meeting at least 15 to 20 minutes early to setup the meeting and properly mute your microphone and/or webcam, as these are the primary functions of the Zoom app. You should be greeted in the virtual lobby by music, and those running the show should be able to help anyone who is having trouble muting their mic.