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Now that live theatrical performances in the U.S. are resuming, what will happen to webcast theater? At first it was purely a stopgap for onstage productions, but several regional companies have started to stream technically sophisticated shows filmed not in empty theaters but on location…
Might it be that we are seeing the coming of a new genre—one for which the phrase “hybrid theater” has started to be used—that will become a standard part of production alongside conventionally staged shows? Michael Halberstam, the artistic director of Glencoe’s Writers Theatre, America’s foremost regional company, thinks so, arguing that hybrid shows “presage a shift in content, form and delivery.” As if to make his point, Writers Theatre is now streaming Reginald Edmund’s “Ride Share,” a premiere produced in collaboration with Black Lives, Black Words International Project….
Marcus (Kamal Angelo Bolden) is a Chicago executive who has been laid off from his “cush job” with “a joke of a severance package” and no immediate prospects for doing better. To make ends meet, he becomes a ride-share driver who works punishing hours (four to ten a.m., then seven p.m. to two a.m.) and sees “the best and the worst” in the people he drives all over the city….
Alan Ayckbourn’s plays are usually written for his own Stephen Joseph Theatre, a 404-seat theater-in-the-round auditorium in Yorkshire. They rarely reach New York—it’s been nine years since his last Broadway production—and the loss is ours, for he is a kind of English Chekhov who is also an incomparably fine director of his own serious comedies of middle-class melancholy. Hence I’m thrilled to report that a live performance of his staging of “The Girl Next Door,” his 85th and latest play, was filmed earlier this month at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and can be viewed online through Sunday. Ayckbourn buffs will naturally jump at the chance to view it, but “The Girl Next Door” is also an ideal introduction to the playwright and his work….
* * *Read the whole thing here.
The trailer for “Ride Share”:
The trailer for “The Girl Next Door”: