Moving Indoors Doesn’t Mean Suffering A Loss Of Quality | WAMC

Moving Indoors Doesn’t Mean Suffering A Loss Of Quality

Oct 27, 2020

ALBANY -  Next week is the end of Daylight Savings Time.  In a normal year, I can hardly find anyone who is happy about losing an hour of daylight.  In the time of Covid, the negative responses are even more emphatic.

This is especially true for those involved with arts and entertainment as it means very soon outside activities will come to a halt and all events move indoors.  

The summer months have offered some relief from the social isolation that is a burden of Covid.   

Outdoor dining brought people to restaurants.  Barrington Stage and Berkshire Theatre Group produced limited productions of live theater.  And a few places, like Powers Park in Troy, managed a series of controlled outdoor music concerts.

They were small but important gestures.  They offered a sense that, perhaps, the new normal might be bearable.

But, in fact, no one has yet defined the new normal.  Some theater companies are pushing the envelope for outside activity by selecting material that is logical to see outdoors.    

This week, Troy Foundry Theater is presenting “Models of Perfection,” a play about two young people being dispossessed from the stoop on which they’ve lived for years.   It plays tonight and Wednesday through November 1 in an alley in downtown Troy.  

Even though it seems cold for outdoor theater, the 60-minute presentation will support the uncomfortable theme of being homeless in a visceral manner. For more information go to troyfoundrytheatre.com

Another approach is for an arts organization to present their event virtually but try to keep the rituals of performances as close to normal as possible.  

Last night the Albany Symphony offered the first of their “Re-Imagined 2020-2021 season.  It took place in real time with the musicians performing live at the Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga. 

Before the concert there was a typical preconcert interview between ASO Music Director David Alan Miller and some of the creatives.  A question and answer event took place after the performance, on Zoom.

Miller has designed the new season with musical pieces that only require a minimum number of musicians.  The selections are such that some rely on strings, the others on horns and some require woodwinds.  

His goal is that every member of the 60-plus member orchestra gets to play live in a controlled safe environment.  

The overall goal is that the ASO subscriber, or single ticket holder gets an experience that replicates attending a concert as close as is possible to a live experience.  For the full season go to albanysymphony.com

Barrington Stage’s new normal is the opposite of the ASO’s approach.   On Sunday, November 1, the Pittsfield, Mass. theater company is offering a film of a new Broadway musical that will be shown to a live audience. 

“The Right Girl” is about Eleanor Stark, who rises to be the Chief Creative Officer of a major film studio.   On this momentous day, she learns that an industry leader whom she admires is a serial abuser of women.  She has to find her role in dealing with one of Hollywood’s most closely guarded secrets.

The 2 p.m. showing is the world premiere offering of the material.  Intended for Broadway or Off-Broadway before the pandemic hit, the decision to film was the safest way to get exposure for the musical.  It has a large cast of highly respected actors and is directed by 5-time Tony Award winner, Susan Stroman.

“The Right Girl” is drawn from interviews of more than 20 women who were sexually harassed by about a dozen men.

Seating at Barrington Stage redesigned theater has been reduced to 160 seats from its 520-seat capacity.   The extremely limited seating is further acerbated by a large number of industry professionals who are invited guests. Tickets are limited. However, streaming is also available.   For information go to barringtonstageco.org

The most familiar version of “new normal” is the Shakespeare & Company presentation of “Martha Mitchell Calling.”   It’s a play about Martha Mitchell.  She was the wife of John Mitchell, Richard Nixon’s Attorney General during Watergate.    Annette Miller reprises her 2006 portrayal role of the woman who had to choose between patriotism and personal happiness.

It will be broadcast free of charge using Vimeo at 7:30 p.m. October 28, 29, 30 and November 1.  For information go to Shakespeare.org

The take-away is that the delivery systems are still in a state of flux, but the product offered is of high quality and filled with thought.  Who knows?  Indoor entertainment might work.

Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.