We asked our favorite news gatherer who writes for the highly respected DramaBlurbs what’s in his notebook. Here’s what he reported just now.
Signature Theatre’s got a new play (musical? maybe) for seniors . New awards category from theatreWashington . New performance space offers something DC doesn’t already have but badly needs . New donation idea, possibly borrowed from NPR . New Washington Post singles column . BSO unveils new audience guessing game
Signature Theatre announced an exciting new production they are planning to stage next season sure to appeal to a faithful segment of their audience. Titled In the Time of Ruins, the play will feature a pair of seventy-somethings, finding romance, in, of all places, an assisted living community. A spokesperson for Signature said “We’ve noticed that patrons responded strongly in the past to Follies – a show where the elderly give it one last go, before the curtain comes down. So why not explore the themes and freedoms of that last unforbidden love – between senior citizens?” We think they’re on to something, and you will too!
Theater Washington will be adding a new category to their burgeoning awards process, covering the unsung heroes pawing, trotting, and scampering across the boards: stage animals. Yes, these uncredited dogs, horses, and monkeys, oh my, are finally going to get their due if the Custodians of Culture on Connecticut have their say. They expect they’ll ruffle a few feathers with the PETA folks, but if an award can’t confer dignity on our four-legged (or two-winged) friends, nothing can. Could the wranglers be far behind?
Inspired by wordless theater productions and perhaps the Tony’s decision to drop sound design from the awards, a brave new venue known as BeckettSpace is dedicating its first production to all the theater companies who have closed in the last few seasons by going quiet. The show will be mimed, contain no audio, and make minimal use of lighting. Smartphones and other sound-emitting electronic devices will be collected prior to show time for later return. The hearing impaired will not be inconvenienced. While they hope to honor the defunct companies, they think that sound is overrated – especially vocalizations – and may detract from the theatrical experience. Also, the increasing sound levels of today’s productions unintentionally prompt unwanted mimetic responses from the audience. Says a BS spokesman, “If theaters want the public to dial it back, they need to take the first step.”
Tithing for the Arts
Taking a page from the religious right, the liberal left seeks to make it easier to give to the nonprofits of your choice. A Kickstarter campaign is launching a new Play in Forward program whereby employees, pensioners, and freelancers (or other members of the gig economy) can have ten percent of their wages or earnings automatically deducted for their favorite art form, performing or otherwise. Those who sign on will be issued credit cards useful for discount purchases and for building up points for use at future events. Why wait for that charitable trust to kick in when you can fund the arts up front?
To Have and Have Not
Striking a blow for income inequality, and capitalizing on the fame of the Brit Soap Opera, the Washington Post is launching an advice column for the lovelorn, to be called “Downtown Abby.” How will this work, you ask? Look for an unidentified Yenta from deep in the District to provide guidance for potential singles from Penn Quarter to NoMa with the likes of the lonely from Lutherville to Waldorf. Sources have informed DramaBlurb that The Post seeks to level the socio-economic playing field between the SuperZips pocketing the DC-area and their county cousins far outside of the Beltway. Let’s hear it for sob sisters n the`hood!
Name that Soloist
Think you can tell Jean-Yves Thibaudet from Garrick Ohlsson or Emanuel Ax for that matter? How about Hillary Hahn from Midori? This June, the BSO will give you the opportunity to test those skills as they conclude their 100th Anniversary Season with a program called “Name That Soloist.” You won’t be swayed by a command delivery, sensuous body language, or strapless gown, as each artist will perform offstage. Randomly selected contestants will match auditory wits as live and perhaps recorded performers serve up a medley of classical favorites in their own inimitable (we think) styles. The first round will feature pianists, the second violinists. The orchestra is hoping to continue next season with other instruments and featured artists, with an ear toward establishing a classical music reality show, called BSO 101, emceed and led by our own Marin Alsop. Can cloaked conductors be far behind!
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© Seymour Clearly, April 1, 2016
Our thanks to John Glass, Seymour’s editor at DramaUrge, for permission to bring you this breaking news.