Stage Director and Military Spouse Carrie Klewin Lawrence pivots online to present Wonder Tales; Fairies, Talking Animals and Magic, an evening of short plays, with Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Zoom Fest
I don’t know about you all, but as we wait our turn for vaccinations, the boredom and wall-climbing in our house has reached a new level. To shake off some of that boredom, you are all invited to come and view my latest virtual theatre project – Wonder Tales: Fairies, Talking Animals & Magic. It’s an evening of six short plays (I am directing three) presented by Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.
I don’t have to tell any of you that life has been upside down since March of 2020. It’s been over a year since we were locked down tight in our Madrid apartment for seven straight weeks. I was hoping that my military-enforced sabbatical from directing would be over when we headed back to the US last fall. But as the pandemic stretched from days to weeks to months, I lost hope of being able to find work directing or teaching. Little did I know that theatres would be pivoting and swerving against the pandemic punches.
I’ve been busier creating theatre than in my days of grad school.
One amazing aspect of this work is being able to collaborate with actors spread across the globe. On this project I’m working with an actor I directed when he was in high school, one of my best friends from college, and another from grad school – who all live in different parts of the US.
For almost a year now theatres have been presenting work online to keep connected with their communities. Planet Connections Theatre Festivity created an online weekly Zoom Fest of plays to keep their community engaged and creative.
It’s not been the smoothest or easiest transition, and we are still figuring out what to call this Zoom theatre phenomenon… but it’s been incredibly satisfying to be tasked with trying to break Zoom with our creative minds and theatricality.
For Wonder Tales, I am directing three very different plays. Each play will require a different approach to the technology and type of performance you will see. I’ve learned a lot in the past year working online. Nothing beats live theatre, but we can actually do some cool virtual tricks, and you don’t even have to leave your couch to check it out!
Broken Glass is the first and only play I have ever written solo. I was asked to write it while on faculty at Mt. St. Jacinto College in California more than a decade ago. Students there presented it as part of a 24-hour festival, but it’s never had a professional production. It’s a meta-theatrical mystery play about a catastrophic incident that happened in the early hours at the firm More is Better.
Trust UR Local Squirrel is a play written by Peggy Howard Chane. She wrote the play while at a theatre conference in Umbria, Italy. It is indeed a play full of squirrels – with another female-power centered story about rival squirrel newscasters, corruption and immigration. It’s a fierce farcical romp through the underbelly of NYC.
Emissary is a whimsical fairy play by Laura Scruggs centered on healing and wonder. It’s a play that asks big questions about life, death, and magical moments. While engaging our tender hearts, Scruggs asks us to engage our childlike imagination and look for fairies everywhere.
In the other three Wonder Tales plays, you’ll find talking rabbits, seals and teddy bears. Glory Kadigan, the artistic director of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity wanted to put together something remarkable for the last evening of the Zoom Fest. It’s a delightful and profound collection of little plays, created by a community of theatre artists that has managed to stay connected though the literal dark days of the pandemic.
This virtual work has been a kind of ghost light – keeping us company as we wait for theatres to re-open.
Wonder Tales runs just about an hour in length, and is free to attend, but you must register (link below) in advance to receive the Zoom link. The evening is presented as a benefit for The Actors Fund. Donations may also be made directly to Planet Connections to support the artists. Join us and let a little virtual theatre magic delight you!
Carrie Klewin Lawrence website:
Planet Connections Theatre Festivity:
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“Devised Experiments in Breaking Zoom” written by Carrie Klewin Lawrence and Amy Claire Tasker for HowlRound