Theater to Stream: More Fringe and a Noël Coward ‘Party’
The Billie Holiday Theater offers a live performance of “12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait” in front of a Black Lives Matter mural.
Jonny Fines, left, and Omar Malik in “My Beautiful Launderette,” streaming at Curve Leicester. Credit…Photo by Ellie Kurttz
- Published Sept. 9, 2020Updated Sept. 10, 2020
It has now been six months since American theater turned off its lights and embarked on a quest to simply exist. Tracking the ever-mutating world of streaming theater for this column has been an education, to say the least. Play readings, for example, tended to be reserved to industry folks; now they are a big part of theater fans’ diet. All shows used to be by appointment; now we differentiate between the ones available on demand and the ones where we do have to turn up in time.
On the other hand, we can watch livestreams from London from the comfort of our American BarcaLoungers while ordering takeout in the middle of a scene. You say “at long last,” I say “I miss those uncomfortable seats and interminable bathroom lines.” And now, on with the shows.
Wendell Pierce is participating in a live performance of “12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait.” Credit…Brinson+Banks for The New York Times
Live from Brooklyn
The Billie Holiday Theater, in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, is partnering with the New Press for a live performance of “12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait” in front of a Black Lives Matter mural. Wendell Pierce (who appeared in “Brothers From the Bottom” at the Billie in 2015), Lisa Arrindell and Billy Eugene Jones will read accounts of racial profiling pulled from the anthology “12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today,” with new material about Breonna Taylor. (Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.; thebillieholiday.org.)
A second chance for ‘Three Viewings’
Debra Jo Rupp is best known for “That ’70s Show” but she is also a delightful stage actress — she was particularly good as a sweet baker with not-so-sweet hangups in “The Cake.” She and television husband Kurtwood Smith were planning to team up in person at the Berkshires’ Barrington Stage Company in Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Three Viewings,” but Covid regulations delayed the production. For now we’ll have to do with a live virtual reading. (Sept. 23-27; barringtonstageco.org.)
From left, Geoff Sobelle, Trey Lyford and Steve Cuiffo in “Elephant Room: Dust From the Stars.”Credit…Courtesy of FringeArts
The virtual streets of Philadelphia
The ambitious Philadelphia Fringe Festival is making the most of the current predicament with over 100 shows — most of them digital, 15 or so performed in safe outdoor settings. Of particular interest is Trey Lyford, Geoff Sobelle and Steve Cuiffo’s “Elephant Room: Dust From the Stars,” a sequel to their very funny magic show “Elephant Room.” (Sept. 10-Oct. 4; fringearts.com.)
Philly’s Pig Iron Theater Company is livestreaming “Zero Cost House (for Zoom),” a collaboration with the Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada that premiered in 2012 and has been revised for the most significant technology to hit theater since the body mic. The semi-autobiographical story incorporates references to “Walden” and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (Sept. 18-25; pigiron.org.)
Live from Britain
Britain seems to be moving faster than the United States when it comes to livestreaming major physical productions. The Old Vic’s very popular series In Camera continues with Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer,” starring Michael Sheen, David Threlfall and Indira Varma. As with the previous shows, “Lungs” and “Three Kings,” the performances take place in an empty auditorium. (Sept. 16-19; oldvictheatre.com.)
Carly Bawden and Marc Antolin in “Romantics Anonymous” at the Bristol Old Vic.Credit…Steve Tanner
Over at the Bristol Old Vic, Emma Rice (“Brief Encounter”) is recreating her 2017 musical staging of the French-Belgian comedy “Romantics Anonymous,” complete with real live actors engaging in real live kissing — a frisson of danger in our age of distanced art. (Sept. 22-26; wisechildrendigital.com)