Baby Steps Toward a Responsible Reopening
With a thousand to fifteen hundred new cases of COVID-19 being reported every day, it has become clear that the pandemic is getting worse and that it won’t be getting better anytime soon. All reasonable projections indicate that actors, production staff, and audiences won’t feel comfortable sharing a common theatrical experience in person until September 2021. Red Herring is a community of artists who are defined by the theatrical works that we create. How do we satisfy our mission while remaining dark? What are we supposed to do while we wait?
Well, we have an idea.
Red Herring has developed a hybrid performance series that combines live streaming performances to a virtual online audience with a live studio audience. By adding a live audience to virtual productions, Red Herring is elevating the stakes for the creative team to get a show right the first time. There are no second takes when performing live.
This is a tremendous opportunity for Red Herring to re-imagine how theatre is produced and experienced.
By exercising the chat function on streaming platforms, online audiences will have the ability to interact with the production host and chat with other audience members during the performance. This practice could have never been done in a conventional theatrical setting.
Flexibility of schedule is another key advantage to this concept. By committing to just a few production dates, Red Herring can adapt our production schedule to current conditions. If Corona cases decline and a show is popular, then we can add performances and extend the run. If cases increase then we can eliminate in studio audiences and broadcast solely to a virtual audience.
Red Herring is launching this concept by restaging Grounded by George Brant, on Aug. 16th, and Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, on Aug. 30th. Followed by Jekyll & Hyde by Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg on Oct. 9th and Unholy Halloween on Oct. 12th. Unfortunately, because local infections continue to rise at an alarming rate, Red Herring will not perform Grounded or Krapp’s Last Tape in front of a live studio audience. We will only offer a live streaming option for those two shows. We hope, and pray, that conditions will improve by October and it will be safe to invite audiences back into our theater.