Thank you all for joining us for the streaming video production of This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic by Daria Miyeko Marinelli, directed by ameenah kaplan! This play offers an examination of our country’s history through a 2020 lens and a probing but hopeful look at our current national situation. Dari and ameenah discuss the production with Kelee Riesbeck in a podcast you can listen to here. Also, please join us for the live talkback with ammenah and Daria after the performance November 13th. The discussion will be recorded and available after subsequent performances.
When we realized this past summer that the COVID-19 pandemic would prevent live production and we had chosen a play that could only be done live due to rights issues, ameenah leapt into action and found …Republic for us. Finding this play connected us to Daria, a terrific playwright who was willing to re-work her play for the slightly larger cast that was already in place for our original production. Daria, working in Los Angeles, and ameenah working in Orlando, agreed on a final script and we began rehearsals in October.
Producing for the streaming format combines aspects of theater and film. Fortunately, ameenah had extensive experience in both and she knew that the success of the project would rely heavily on an excellent video editor and sound. Ameenah connected us to Willis Hao who has done miracles with editing magic. We are also thrilled to welcome back alumnus sound designer Sharath Patel, who lives in Portland, Oregon. Faculty member Brigitte Bechtel, a scenic artist by profession, provided digital backgrounds and graduate student Kayla Higbee designed (and distributed) costumes.
Because of COVID safety protocols, no actor was ever in the same room with any other actor or crew member. Actors were working mostly in their own homes recording themselves with very limited space. The production budget was put to good use buying green screen fabric for 10x12 foot screens, IPads, ear buds and microphones so that every actor was working with the same equipment no matter where they were located. Matching sets of lighting equipment were distributed to all locations by lighting designer Caitlin Brown.
How was all the action coordinated by the director, who was herself located in Orlando, Florida? The ear buds made it possible for ameenah to direct the action through a Zoom call so that all actors were hearing simultaneous direction. Ameenah planned each screen look in advance, similar to story boarding a movie. Actors uploaded their raw videos to the cloud at the end of each night of rehearsal/recording. Ameenah sent editing ideas to Willis, who is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Willis applied his editing magic and that draft went to Sharath, who applied sound effects and composition to the video. The result of all these artists collaboration is what you see in the live stream. The pandemic has taught us to be creative it completely new ways and through this one project made Tantrum’s reach truly national.
Tantrum has been busy with several other endeavors this fall. Two of our projects, Stories of COVID-19, a podcast of seven conversations hosted by Charles Smith, and Insulted. Belarus(sia) a Staged Reading, can still be accessed on a TantrumTheater.org. The third project was a collaboration between Tantrum, Passion Works Studio and The Nest Improvisation Workshop from Columbus, made possible by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
Tantrum Theater’s spring 2021 production will be the musical Spring Awakening in a concept by director Alan Kenny that contrasts Tik Tok style music videos with 19th century adults. The first stream is planned for April 9th, 2021. We’re excited to see this project unfold in the coming months. The previously announced Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has been delayed until spring 2022 when we can produce live in a theater.
But now, join us for the live stream of This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic!