Theater Talk: Self Quarantine prompts a memory, SIDP cancels first play

Apr 24, 2020

Anthony recalls a time when, as a high schooler, Broadway was a bit out of reach, so he read everything he could about the theater. Now, when theaters are dark, he finds reading a comfort. Even though social distancing rules might be relaxed by summer, so much work takes place long before opening night that Shakespeare in Delaware Park can't just "flip a switch" on June 18 and put on a show. Sadly, AS YOU LIKE IT has been canceled. Meanwhile, the Alleyway Theatre's "Buffalo Quickies" air live Sunday mornings at 11am on YouTube.


Chris Handley, the Alleyway Theatre's Artistic Director, coordinates a live feed of socially distant actors putting on a live show as part of the six "Sunday Brunch" presentations of Buffalo Quickies, shepherded by Joyce Stilson
Credit Alleyway.com

BUFFALO QUICKIES: The 29th annual "Buffalo Quickies" festival of new one-act plays produced by The Alleyway Theatre has jumped to the virtual COVID-19 world (see photo).

Although the health crisis prevented QUICKIES on stage thione per week, for the next five weeks. Audiences are invited to join, from their own homes, BUFFALO QUICKIES: LIVE BRUNCH by visiting www.alleyway.com every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. for a world premiere short play each week. 

Five of the plays are by Buffalo playwrights, including j.Snodgrass, whose play aired live last weekend. Still to come are one-acts by Darleen Pickering Hummert, Justin Karcher, Mark C. Lloyd, and Samantha Marchant. The final play scheduled is by 2019 Maxim Mazumdar Prize Winner Collin I. Hood, a native of Colorado with a number of short plays to his credit.

Director Joyce Stilson has brought together a cast featuring Quickies favorites Stephanie Bax, David C. Mitchell, Kate Olena, Matthew Rittler, and Michael Starzynski. The first show (archive available) already made a Corona-concession when Smirna Mercedes, a nurse, had to bow out to report for duty.

Because of social distancing the actors, director, and audience can't get together in person. But fortunately, the 29th annual Quickies plays were well into rehearsal by the time theaters were shut down. So, The Alleyway is bringing the actors back and meeting (Live! From their Living Room Lay-Z-Boys!) on camera. They will apparently get one virtual rehearsal (which will be a technical rehearsal for Artistic Director Chris Handley to figure out how to make this all happen) and then the show goes live, all from the safety of everyone's own homes.

As Handley states: "It's new ground for everyone, but we felt like Quickies is such a Buffalo tradition at this point (this is our 29th year!) that we couldn't just let it vanish. So, 2020 will go down in the Alleyway Chronicles as 'that year Quickies went online'."

He went on to say that "The actors have been great and are excited about using this new platform to tell the stories, director Joyce Stilson is focused on getting everyone back into the swing of things, and I've been learning a lot about producing streaming videos."

Watch and get the full BUFFALO QUICKIES: LIVE BRUNCH lineup at alleyway.com.  

SHAKESPEARE IN DELAWARE PARK
(from Anthony's blog www.theatertalkbuffalo.com)

The Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of "As You Like It," is the latest casualty to the corona virus pandemic.  Intended to be the first show of the 45th Anniversary SDP season, the production, scheduled to run Jun 18 through July 12, was officially nixed last night. 

"As You Like It" would have featured Genevieve Ellis as Rosalind; Darryl Semira as Orlando; Jay Desiderio as Duke Frederick; Jamie Nablo as Celia; Chris J. Handley as Touchstone; and Tom Makar as Jaques.  

The venerable festival still hopes to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream, beginning mid-July, but advises patrons "that any upcoming production is contingent on government mandate and the health and safety of you, our friends."

"As You Like It" features many memorable lines:

Tom Makar will not say:

"All the world's a stage

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.”

(Jaques, Act 2 Scene 7)

Genevieve Ellis will not say:

"Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.”

(Rosalind, Act 3 Scene 2)

Chris J. Handley will not say:

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

(Touchstone, Act 5 Scene 1)

Genevieve Ellis will not say:

“I pray you, do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine.”

(Rosalind, Act 3 Scene 5)

Genevieve Ellis will not say:

“Love is merely a madness and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do, and the reason why they are not so punish’d and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.” 

(Rosalind, Act 3 Scene 2)

Genevieve Ellis will not say:

“Time travels in diverse paces with diverse persons I’ll tell you who time ambles withal, who time trots withal, who time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.”

(Rosalind, Act 3 Scene 2)

Darryl Semira will not say:

“Oh, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”

(Orlando, Act 5 Scene 2)

Other cast members were to include:  James Wamsley as Silvius; Marie Costa as Phebe; Heather Casseri as Audrey; David Hayes as Oliver de Bois; Christopher Guilmet as Duke Senior; Mike Garvey as Corin; Ben Caldwell as Charles; Larry Rowswell as Adam; Max Daminai as Jaques de Bois; Arianna Lasting as Le Beau; Taylor Hall as Denise; Collan Zimmerman as William; and Jay Wollin as a musician. 

To paraphrase Louisa May Alcott, summer won't be summer without Shakespeare in Delaware Park!

Let's keep our fingers crossed for "Midsummer Night's Dream."