DC’s Mosaic Theater Company will not produce its Fall schedule of plays, Board Chair Bill Tompkins announced in a press release which DC Theatre Scene received today.
“Conditions remain too uncertain for a resumption of in-person performances at this time. Like so many other arts organizations, we have to do what’s best for the whole community: postpone and pivot. Mosaic will build its online presence with exciting initiatives and hopes to return to producing live theater in early 2021.” Tompkins said.
Alexandra Petri’s Inherit the Windbag will be one of the shows contributing to Mosaic’s online presence. Previously schedule to open on August 19, this story of a postmortem reunion of Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal, bitter antagonists while covering the 1968 Democratic presidential convention, will be converted to video and released online this fall. Lee Mikesha Gardner directs; Paul Morella is Vidal and John Lescault will play Buckley.
The future of another scheduled Fall show, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, is less clear but apparently the play will not be done online. “We are committed to bringing this production with Academy Award nominee David Strathairn to live audiences as soon as the public health situation allows,” said director and co-author (with Clark Young) Derek Goldman.
There was no word on the future of the third scheduled Fall show, Eleanor Burgess’ The Niceties, in the Mosaic press release. This play, which debuted in the Contemporary American Theater Festival in 2017, is the story of a professor who has the tables turned on her by her student as they argue about the right way to view American history.
In lieu of the previously-scheduled Fall shows, Mosaic will present additional online content, including a reading of Psalmayene 24’s new work, Dear Mapel. This play explores Psalmayene’s relationship with his dead father through a series of hand-written letters. The playwright said, “I’m excited to creatively respond to this fraught moment and see how theater can best nourish the human spirit. Through Dear Mapel, I’m also curious to discover how this deeply personal play can illuminate universal truths during this time of reckoning.”
This Fall, Mosaic will also be presenting an online musical sampler of the scoring for Ifa Bayeza’s The Till Trilogy, which continues to be scheduled for June of 2021. Bayeza, who the American Theater Critics Association recently named a finalist for its Francesca Primus Prize, noted that “As disturbing as it may be, this crisis has created an opportunity to reimagine ourselves as a nation, as artists and as a company.”
In the meantime, Mosaic and its landlord, Atlas Performing Arts Center are taking steps to assure that when the theater eventually opens, it will do so safely. Mosaic has engaged Lisa Koonin, founder of Health Preparedness Partners, to develop protocols for the company. Koonin, a Doctor of Public Health Management, was a longtime employee of the CDC, working in the management of responses to outbreaks of infectious diseases. She is currently an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina.
Finally, Mosaic Founding Artistic Director Ari Roth will be taking a three-month sabbatical to complete his new play and to “research, reflection, and writing about new organizational processes that will allow Mosaic to fully realize its unique mission, values, and goals,” according to Mosaic’s announcement. Managing Director Serge Seiden will assume day-to-day responsibilities for the company during Roth’s sabbatical.