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  • Honest Pint

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

You may ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here?"

— Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads


Where does the time go?

We are already 5 months into 2021. How did we get here?

Did you hear us gulping?

Time is still flying by. It’s still blurry. But it’s time for us to harness it back. Time to refocus our energy and to stop giving it over to a powerful virus. There are too many powerful viruses that plague our country right now, not just COVID-19. It’s time to emerge from our 14-month hibernation, to stand up on our feet in strength and resolve, united to create a future that is vibrant and thriving.

It is the month of May, which got us thinking about the word “may.” It has many meanings and they are strong!

MAY: Named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Also from the Latin word maiores, “elders,” who were celebrated during this month. Maia was considered a nurturer and an earth goddess, which may explain the connection with this springtime month.

MAY: An expression of possibility, a permissive choice to act or not, as distinguished from "shall," which is an imperative or often mandatory course of action.MAY: Old English mæg, of Germanic origin, from a base meaning ‘have power’

MAY: May is a modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. You use “may” to indicate that something will possibly happen or be true in the future, but you cannot be certain.

Boy, if there was ever a password for how we are feeling right now, it is “MAY.”

You may or may not be happy that spring has sprung. You may be planting your garden physically and metaphorically, delighting in the beauty and possibility this season of life has to offer, or you may be cursing the allergies and discomfort you are experiencing because of it. It’s always your choice.

You may be celebrating your elders right now, as both of us have done in the past few weeks, with Susannah flying to California to see her parents for the first time in 14 months and David mourning the loss of his beloved father, Jerry, who passed away in April.

You may be pondering the possibility of real, true, social change and justice following the conviction of Derek Chauvin in April on three counts of murder and manslaughter. You may be considering whether to act or not to help create a better, more just, inclusive, and equal world. If 2020 didn’t shake you up, honestly, we don’t know what will. Sitting on our collective hands is no longer an option; a mandatory course of action is needed to turn around the COVID-19 crisis, the violence against Black and AAPI citizens, our mass shooting murder problem, and and and and…. Yes, it will take all of us to decide we want to do something about the cancers that plague our country. We may not turn a blind eye to them.

We have the power. WE are the country, solutions are not out of our hands. The answers may possibly happen. A corrective course of action may happen in the future, but we cannot be certain. We can only be certain that we WANT it to happen and then act in each others’ best interests on that desire.

Theatre is a collective art form. We tell stories together. We share our human experience with each other so that we can feel what it’s like to walk in each others’ shoes. This creates understanding. When we understand each other, we have empathy for each other and we are no longer alone. “Together” just works better than going it alone. We may or may not see the positive changes we so desperately need in the near future, but we won’t get there without working collectively.



Things I am liking this month by Susannah

This brief and lovely blog written by playwright Mashuq Mushtaq Deen hit me in my very deeps. Deen writes about advocating in his community and the power of words as a brown-skinned, transgender, gay man born to Muslim Indian parents. “We must tell the stories of our lives, through our particular lenses. When you read my words, I don’t want you to step over the hard ones, I want you to feel them all, as I did. I want you to say them out loud when you read this essay to your lover, to your mother, to your friend. Art is not meant to be a comfortable, or even a safe space if safety means that we will not be disturbed or troubled by what we experience. Disturbance and discomfort are part of a necessary alchemy. Art is provocative; it provokes something in the cultural subconscious. It challenges us. And it should. It exacerbates a wound, one we pretend not to have, and it is good that it does this. Because the wound is not the problem, it’s the way we’ve declined to deal with it that’s causing so much pain… And finally, what is most important and always lost is that we need to be kinder with ourselves. Deeply embedded in our judgment of others, in our inability to forgive others for their flaws, is our own inability to forgive ourselves. Every act of forgiveness requires an act of self-forgiveness ... for allowing ourselves to get hurt, for needing a love that did not come, for not being strong enough to not get hurt in the first place.”

https://www.macdowell.org/news/why-macdowell-now-do-not-disappear-the-words?fbclid=IwAR0lhFBXq6LdwxtmKKx-zIZjmi3HsLGo4PBNsDqSMNjbrZq1omMFzXVLTVE



My aunt, fine art photographer Charlotte Watts, turned me on to this link. It is a beautiful study of young people on the autism spectrum and their brave caregivers. See how three photographers portray the richness of neurodiversity, and reveal what may not be immediately obvious to the eye. Yes, I wept because it is my story, too, but I think you’ll love these photos. Photography, like theatre, is one of the most powerful forms of visual language and also a relational tool—a pretext to entering someone else’s world and getting to know them.

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/our-ways-of-being-our-ways-of-being-visualizing-neurodiversity-and-autism Photographs: Mary Berridge, Carol Allen-Storey, and Erin Lefevre Essay by: Joanna L. Cresswell




And if, like me, you need distraction and respite from the trials of the day, look no further than my new favorite Instagram account. I can’t get enough of this little guy.

https://www.instagram.com/harlso_the_balancing_hound



Welcome May’s guest blogger, Lormarev Jones!

Lormarev Jones is a Director, Choreographer, and Educator currently based in Raleigh. She received her MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College. Lormarev has served as a director and choreographer at many theatres and high schools in the Triangle, including North Carolina State, Meredith College, Raleigh Charter High School, Raleigh Little Theatre and many others. She is also a deviser, playwright, and solo performer. Lormarev currently teaches at NCSU while continuing to freelance in all her areas of expertise. http://www.lormarevjones.com Take it away, Lorma!


What a time to be alive, am I right?


In March of 2020, I was in the midst of 3 choreography projects, and had just completed three others in February. Meaning: I had six different shows running through my head at the beginning of last year.


I knew I was pushing the limits of what I could feasibly juggle. But when you’re an adjunct – you have to make hay when the sun is shining – because the hay (pay) is shit. These choreography projects LITERALLY paid my rent, and the money earned from that work would become my lifeline when the world shut down.


As an artist, I counted myself lucky as a creator that did not lose all my streams of income. In fact, I was able to create a new passive stream of income – through the virtual theatre space that became the industry’s primary way of telling stories during this time. My solo play, My Geriatric Uterus, was originally scheduled to be remounted in the summer of 2020 – and I had absolutely no interest in figuring out how to adapt it.

Then June 2020 came. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breyonna Taylor and George Floyd took center stage, and suddenly people realized that racism was still a thing. My show focuses on the intersections of Capitalism, race, and the demands placed on the bodies of black women; unfortunately, it seemed as though some of the material I had written in the Spring of 2019 were quite clairvoyantly commenting on 2020. I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to capitalize on black trauma, but the show’s relevancy had intensified somewhat.


I quit the hand-wringing and assembled the original production team to collaborate on how to adapt. By July, I had seen so much virtual theatre; I wasn’t a fan of most of it. Pointing a camera at a stage did not appeal to me. My director (Carolyn Guido Clifford) and I decided to lean into the meta-theatre/show-within-a-show concept that had been built into the original stage play – and utilize the film-specific things that we couldn’t possibly have done in a stage play. Another friend handled all of the marketing and ran interference for the Kickstarter campaign that full funded the project!


We also made cuts. Theatre is an ethereal nature to theatre, an immediacy that really can’t be reproduced in a virtual format. I cut a lot of writing that didn’t work for film, or might seem redundant in this new setting. I also changed the ending, which was somewhat graphic and did not seem appropriate through a 2020 lens.


I am surprisingly proud of how My Geriatric Uterus: The Digital Experience turned out. It has been viewed in many states and several countries, by friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. It is weird and surreal to get messages every so often from people that have seen it, as recently as this month – when I filmed over two days at Shadowbox Studios in Durham, NC LAST JULY. I am so disconnected from that performance in a way that I am not used to as a theatre artist.


On the other hand, being an educator with several streams of income saved me from economic collapse – but as I mentioned, that pace was not sustainable.


I felt guilty that I appreciated the time to reflect, to slow down, to REST. Rest that was desperately needed. The pause allowed me to reassess my priorities, my goals and most importantly, my MISSION.


What is my mission, exactly? Well, I’m still working on it. Making theatre is part of it, but that’s not particularly specific, and as we learned this year – theatre is fleeting and not always accessible. Here’s what I DO know: I make better theatre when I am in community with those who share my values. Equity, accessibility, curiosity, collaboration, compassion, authenticity and joy = those are my values. I want to create work in environments that value people over profit – where rest is not only allowed but encouraged and celebrated. I had promised myself post-grad school that I would not run myself into the ground for theatre anymore – and the March 2020 shutdown elucidated that I had broken that promise.


I find myself at the end of my fourth semester teaching theatre in higher education as an adjunct. Meaning, (1) I have now taught theatre online for an entire academic year, and (2) About 63% of my entire career in higher ed has been online. I am exhausted. I’d bet you are too.


Although the pace of life has slowed, everything takes more energy now. Outings, social gatherings, even work. Now that things are ramping back up again, I am hesitant to sign on to projects for fear of getting back into the habit of overextending. I have no desire to go back to “normal,” because normal wasn’t healthy. Or sustainable. I am envisioning and manifesting a new kind of artistic life for myself, a more intentional one that reflects my values and allows me to care for my self physically, mentally, and creatively.


The unnerving stress, uncertainty and constant screen time of the past 395 days has worn us out. I have lost count of the number of times I have told my students, my peers, my colleagues (and myself) to drink water. We cannot control so many things – but we can choose how we respond and take care of ourselves in this life.


So: SIT DOWN. NAP. HYDRATE.


And remember that I love you.


❤️ We love you, too, Lormarev. We miss you on our local stages. Thank you for sharing your perspective on making a life with theatre. You MAY be the wisest theatre artist we know.

That’s it for May 2021. Our work continues with The Unititled Kafka Project and planning for another show as soon as we can safely return to theaters. More on that soon. As always, we appreciate your support and we long to see you all again in the lobby before or after a show. We have so much to catch up on, so many stories to share with each other. We want to hear every one of yours. Until then, take Lormarev’s advice. Always remember to

DRINK DEEP! 🍺


— Susannah and David

Honest Pint produces small, intimate, human stories. We make a different kind of theatre that we have a thirst for and that we believe others do, too. People see themselves reflected in our shows and are changed by witnessing them. To support our mission, you can make a donation here.






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  • Honest Pint

The early morning rain, falling on my window

Makes me think of you again

I pretend that you're here with me

And tho' it seems like April again

It's not the same

It's not the same…

— Dean Martin

Hello, Huckleberry Friends!

It’s April 2021. Thirteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Nineteen months since a live Honest Pint production graced a stage. Although we have seen you virtually a few times for some Zoom events, it’s just not the same.

It’s just not the same as being together in the room, sharing our humanity, our experience, our thoughts, our fears, our laughs. But with another spring ticking off the calendar, we continue to hold out hope that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. As we write this letter on Easter Sunday, we feel a sense of hope. Whether the day celebrates Christ’s resurrection or whether it means chocolate bunnies and hiding eggs, it is a day and time to celebrate renewal and rebirth. No, it won’t be the same coming out of this pandemic. We won’t be the same, and we shouldn’t be. Nothing will ever be the same.

That’s an intimidating and perhaps scary thought — to be reborn into something new and unfamiliar. But if we lead with love and faith that we will be better for having gone through this time of change and rebirth, we will not only be ok, we will be stronger, more courageous, more vulnerable, more kind, more open, more supportive, more reflective, more everything.

So stay in this moment, and feel all of your feelings about it. Surrender to the change and trust that even though things will never be the same, they will be ok. Not just ok, they will be GOOD. Maybe even GREAT if we allow them to be.




Hot off the press

WE GOT OUR VACCINES!!!

We are so grateful to be fully vaccinated and for the volunteers, scientists, and leaders that made this possible! The vaccination site was full of people laughing and smiling and we all felt so good knowing we are moving forward as a country. There is light at the end of the tunnel and this is our first step to being back in the room with you. Small but determined steps…



But we also thought you might be interested in hearing about how other, larger regional theaters are adapting and coping one year into the pandemic. Here is an excerpt from American Theatre Magazine:

“Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? With the pandemic necessitating adaptation, flexibility, and, yes, even branching outside of the normal way of producing, two theaters in the Southwest have pushed through the limitations of the pandemic to try something different. In Phoenix, the 101-year-old Phoenix Theatre Company (the sixth oldest regional theatre company in the country) has taken this opportunity to set aside digital productions and instead venture outside to produce for the first time in their history.

“We felt like our subscribers were not terribly interested in virtual experiences,” said producing artistic director Michael Barnard (he/him). “Even though we were doing a number of them during the course of the summer, nothing was really striking a chord at the same level as live.”

Meanwhile, in Dallas, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) has found a surprising amount of hope, despite what could be seen as a recent setback. As The New York Times reported last week, DTC was at the center of an uproar that saw over 2,500 people sign a petition expressing frustrations with Actors Equity Association's reopening plans, guidelines, and purportedly inscrutable decision-making. This came after the plug was unceremoniously pulled on DTC’s production of Tiny Beautiful Things mere days before rehearsals were to begin; the theatre and Equity had reached an impasse on safety protocols, despite a 45-page safety plan from the theatre.”

Just this week, Equity has finally released it’s COVID-19 protocols for re-opening and it is intense!

An abbreviated list of guidelines issued by Actors Equity Association can be found here.

The whole shebang can be found here.

The more you know: Honest Pint has been trying to produce Tiny Beautiful Things for 3 years!




Here’s one more article we loved reading this week. Broadway reopened for 36 minutes last Saturday, to a masked and tested crowd of 150 people seated in theatre with 1,700 seats.


The first small but determined step after 387 days of closure:


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/03/theater/broadway-reopening.html


April's guest blogger

Friends, we have another guest blogger for you this month.

Many of you know this fierce and determined theatre-maker, Rachel Pottern Nunn. Rachel has been our trusted adviser and helper for a few years now, pitching ideas to us and pitching in whenever possible. She is tireless and full of energy and good will. We love her dearly. She holds BA’s in theatre and English from William Peace University. She has been active in the Triangle area theatre scene since 2015 as a performer, director, designer, and administrator for companies including Bare Theatre, Raleigh Little Theatre, Honest Pint, Women's Theatre Festival, and more. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Arts Leadership at Virginia Tech. We can’t wait to see how she sets the world on fire once that diploma is in hand! Take it away, Rachel!



Rachel Pottern Nunn (she/her)


I wrote this blog post in my head while mowing the lawn. Repetitive work outside is my favorite way to disconnect and lean into the soft focus, drifting thoughts, and aimless mental wandering where I encounter my creativity and best ideas time and again. I’ve been thinking a lot about artists and self-care. The term “self-care” has become somewhat commodified, but I’m thinking instead about self care as seeking resilience. Artists deal in questions. Questions are hard, though, at a time when the call for immediacy, results, and action threatens to obliterate our relationship with productive uncertainty. This is what I mean when I talk about resilience; how can we be resilient enough as artists to engage in hard questions without jumping too quickly to simplistic answers? This has been the task of artists for time immeasurable, but in the age of social media and the cultural expectation of immediate reactions, it takes more courage than ever to say, authentically, “I don’t know. But I’ll try to find out.” These are big themes. Let me zoom back in. Summer 2015. Bare Theatre was doing Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. I was sitting on a rehearsal room floor holding my maimed sister in my lap and crying so hard snot was running into my mouth. My director crouched beside me. She didn’t say anything, but let me choke my way through my lines, her hand just lightly resting on my shoulder--not distracting, but giving me that one point of contact that grounded me, saying hey, this is pretend. You’re safe. In March 2020 I learned that that strength didn’t need to come in the form of a physical hand on my shoulder. I collaborated with the Women’s Theatre Festival on a show that was planned for stage, but quickly pivoted to virtual. Following in-person casting, my co-director and I never worked together in person, and yet there were countless times when she or another of our collaborators laid a virtual hand on my shoulder. Hey. I’m here. You can safely go to these unscripted places because I’ve got your back. I’ve always found resilience as a theatremaker in the partnership of my collaborators. Honest Pint let me come on a very unscripted journey with them in the summer of 2018. My formal training and experience had mostly been in acting, directing, and design, but I was feeling a pull towards arts administration. I came to them and said, hey, I love the work you’re doing. I don’t know much, but I want to learn, and I want to help. Susannah and David said cool, let’s make this up together. Isn’t that what theatremaking is at the end of the day? “Let’s make this up together”? One night I joined Susannah in the back of a dark theatre during a dress rehearsal that had been fraught with complications. “I don’t know how this is going to turn out,” she confided. I said nothing for a moment. We sat in silence. “I bet it will turn out better than you think,” I said finally. Sometimes solutions aren’t necessary. Sometimes what we need as artists is someone to sit in the dark with. My entire approach to theatre work has been shaped by the generosity, patience, and ability to sit with uncertainty that characterizes our local Raleigh-area theatre scene. Time and again I have seen abundance as a guiding value in how we treat each other. Of course we all have our moments; we’re humans. Humans trying to do a very hard, very vulnerable thing with very few resources. But when we’re generous with each other we increase our capacity to ask better questions. Harder questions. Questions that take us to unscripted places. Because we know we don’t have to go there alone. Adrienne Maree Brown, a Black feminist thinker I have been turning to a lot in recent months uses nature metaphors to describe resilience: “oak trees don’t set an intention to listen to each other better, or agree to hold tight to each other when the next storm comes. under the earth always they reach for each other, they grow such that their roots are intertwined & create a system of strength which is as resilient on a sunny day as it is in a hurricane.” Of course I immediately thought of our City of Oaks. Hands on shoulders; roots underground. We can not only withstand hurricanes but lean into them with confidence, because we are not alone. There’s a tree in my front yard where I live now in Blacksburg, Virginia. It would be too poetic if it were an oak--alas, it’s a red maple. I mowed carefully around its roots this afternoon. Our world needs action, now more than ever. The demands--and that word “demand” is intentional and useful--we are called to respond to are important and urgent, both within the theatre industry and without. Racism, inequality, environmental concerns, and more are issues too long unaddressed. But they are not tasks to be neatly checked off a list. To do the good work, the productive and necessarily complex work that 2021 demands of us, we need to commit to the long haul. To the uncertainty. To the unscripted places. And we need all the resilience of our fellow oak trees in the journey ahead.



Rachel’s words hit us right in the heart.


As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand more than ever that this art form, like everything in life, only succeeds when we have our roots in the ground and our hands on each other’s shoulders. What a beautiful image this is. By supporting each other, we emerge renewed and resilient and more prepared to make this up TOGETHER.


Thank you so much, Rachel for your beautiful words.



Hello Dolly


And we continue our work on the Untitled Kafka Project. Playwright Tamara Kissane continues her writing and edits, and we are so excited about what she is cooking up! We know you will be, too!

Meanwhile, many of you sent us your stories and photos of treasured dolls and toys from your childhoods. We are so thankful! THERE IS STILL TIME AND ROOM FOR MORE!

We want as many as we can get. Maybe your kids currently have a special best friend and they would like to share that with us. Tell us about it! You don’t have to be a writer to write something valuable for this project. Or maybe you just want to send in a photo, that’s ok, too. We will be creating a community component of this project and we want YOU to be a part of it. Please email your writings and photos to: info@honestpinttheatre.org



One last thing before we go: We have relaunched our Patreon page after almost a year of being dormant due to the pandemic. We are now producing this new work (the Kafka Project) and it needs funding. Your monthly gifts allow us to plan for the future and sustain the company. Your dollars go directly to paying artists a stipend and to production costs. There is zero fat on the bones of this company, so trust you are helping people who have been financially impacted severely in the past year and will come together to create a new community-centered piece of theatre. You can access our Patreon page here. If you prefer to give a one-time donation via a credit card, that’d be swell, too. There is a link on our website where you can use PayPal or your credit card. You can go there now by clicking here.

Thank you so much for your continuing support and for keeping the faith in us as we wake up from our long sleep and resurrect the company. We will have changed and grown, and we won’t be the same. But that is exciting to us! The world can be better than it was before if we make it that way.

We cannot wait to become serial huggers and to be in a theatre with you again! Stay safe, stay vigilant. Wear your mask and remain socially distant when in public. And please get that vaccine as soon as you can. It’s SO worth it!

DRINK DEEP! 🍺

— Susannah and David

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  • Honest Pint

Spring Awakening

Happy March, friends!! Can you believe it has now been one year since we entered the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s been a long, exhausting year, and yet time feels so amorphous and non-linear as we mark this inauspicious milestone.

Some good things are finally happening as we enter the second year of the pandemic: as of this writing, 96 million Americans have received at least the first dose of their vaccine protocol (yay, science!) and the U.S. House and Senate passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. These are both GREAT things we need RIGHT NOW. But it has been a year and a half since an Honest Pint production has tread the boards of a theater. We can barely believe it as we write this. All we can do it stay focused on the job ahead, which is to stay healthy and safe and to keep working toward re-opening as soon as possible. In the meantime, we continue our work on our original piece we are creating with Tamara Kissane, which we unofficially title “The Kafka Project.” Stay tuned for more details as they unfold.

HELLO, DOLLY!

A big thank you to everyone who sent us their childhood memories of their dolls and toys. It was heartwarming to read your tender recollections of your best friends. If you haven’t yet sent us your story, please feel free to do so. We want as many as we can get, and we will use them to create a community experience for audiences when the show opens. Please email them to: info@honestpinttheatre.org Tell us about your childhood best friend (ie, a doll or toy), how that attachment impacted your childhood, how detaching from it may have caused you some pain, and how you dealt with that pain and grief.




THE COST OF A PINT

We humbly ask for your financial support for this community-based project. The cost of a “pint” (ie, each production we create) varies, but averages at least $10,000. With this play, we will be paying extra for musicians, technical experts, and a first-class playwright. As we awaken from our year-long hibernation, it is time to think once again about budgets and stipends. The work we do is employment for local theatre workers who have been financially impacted especially hard in the past year. Please send any donations you can. Here is a link to our PayPal.


Welcome our guest blogger


You probably remember Matthew Hager from our production of THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE, but you may not recognize him! Matthew played the lead role of Casey, the Elvis impersonator-turned-drag performer, aka Georgia McBride! Under all those outrageous wigs and costumes lies a dedicated and seasoned actor. We thought it would be fun to shine a light on one of our favorite theatre artists we have had the pleasure of working with. So this month, get to know Matthew and his thoughts on theatre post-pandemic.



Woo boy, y’all. This year has been a doozy! I sure do hope you’re well. And I mean that sincerely, not as one of those polite phrases you say to passing acquaintances when you’re actually thinking, “Like me, but don’t talk to me.” You may be asking yourself what that skinny boy from The Legend of Georgia McBride is doing writing on the Honest Pint newsletter. That’s a great question. You may even say, “I saw this guy in his tighty whiteys and lost all respect for him then, why should I read anything he writes?” And to that I’d say, “No one asked you, Dad!” (Awkward pause.) Moving on. Seeing as we’ve now won the war against infectious bats (or, depending on your point of view, lost the war against the government—where my Red Hats at!?), the prospect of reemergence is becoming a tantalizing reality. While I will once again have the burden of coming up with creative but plausible excuses for why I can’t attend your poetry readings (“No…this is my other niece’s graduation.”), I cannot wait for the return of in-person, capital T Theatre. And, undoubtedly, much like all of us genuinely fortunate enough to survive the COVID crisis, Theatre will come out looking different than it went in, with maybe a little more weight. If you’re anything like me—which I hope you aren’t—the great pause caused by COVID forced you into a time of assessing how you were (and weren’t) living your best life. And if you’re anything like me—which I hope you are—you have learned through COVID time ways to better structure your life to funnel your energy and efforts into actions, thoughts, and people that do support your wellness and values. My hope is that Theatre as a whole, and locally here in the RDU area, has gone through a similar existential reevaluation and will emerge with a clearer set of tools to serve our beautifully dynamic communities, who they actually are and where they’re actually going. While I think very few of us, if any, wish to continue in this exclusively virtual theatre world, here are five elements of digital theatre that I hope will continue as part of in-person theatre:

  • The chat box. What a wonderful gift! I loved watching a Zoom theatre show and having a shared experience with other audience members in the chat box. It solved the taboo problem of talking in the theatre (and the even worse shushing the talking in the theatre) and allowed for another level of connection to develop. Plus, as an artist, what a joy it is to go back and see your audience’s real-time responses to a show. A chat box may not be possible or right for every in-person show, but having a communal thread or displayed screen may be right for some. We’re too uptight in theatre anyway; let our audiences talk and make a little noise, even if it’s just the rat-a-tat-tat of their fingers.

  • Virtual rehearsals. Of course we can’t and shouldn’t always have virtual rehearsals for an in-person show, but I know I’ve been at in-person rehearsals in the past that could have just as well been conducted online. With the fact that artists are too often paid too little, a virtual rehearsal here and there with less demand on time and zero commuting costs may not be a bad thing for production teams to consider. Plus, the sessions can be recorded for actors to review or for companies to distribute for a behind-the-scenes looks (we’re talking Patreon gold here, people.)


  • Livestreaming. Now that several local theatre companies have figured out how cameras and the internet work, KEEP LIVESTREAMING! It expands a company’s potential audience, allows for folks in other parts of the country to participate in the viewing experience, and allows for higher-quality archival recordings that can be shown at a later date on different platforms. Plus, there will be many plays going forward with livestreaming in mind, so the streaming rights situation will be streamlined, and we should embrace the technology and how it makes our work more accessible.

  • Sustainable long shows. I love a long night out at the theatre. It feels like an event. However, I also am a wimp when it comes to tolerance of “gotta go pee” pain. Virtual theatre, with its mute buttons and pauses for tech resets, allows the audience to stay with a show for a long time while allowing for bio-breaks. How do we do this in person? Bring back one of my favorite play structures, the three-act play. There’s nothing like the comfort and thrill of a 45-minute opening act, then time for folks to pee, 45 more minutes with a cliff hanger, pee again, then thirty final minutes to bring that story to a close. Good enough for Oscar Wilde, good enough for me. Either that, or just let me pee in the aisle.

  • Digital Discussions. Ever since I moved to Raleigh, I’ve heard about how the theatre community should get together and talk about “this,” or gather and talk about “that.” The problem was, no one knew how to get a collective conversation going across the busy and over-extended diaspora that is the theatre community. During COVID, we have seen incredible discussions online about race, gender, accessibility, and arts funding. Also, countless members of our community have been interviewed on various platforms, allowing us to get to know folks we didn’t beforehand, or didn’t know well enough. These outreaches and challenges have increased the intimacy of our community, even as we have been physically distanced from each other, and these conversations must continue. We HAVE to keep asking, “Who are we not reaching? Who are we not including? And how can we do better?”

As the world reemerges, theatre has an opportunity. Physical distancing has isolated our need for in-person connection, an asset that this ancient art of theatre has maintained for millennia. People will soon leave their houses looking for exactly what theatre offers: human connection, shared experience, and stories that reflect ourselves. But if we are not prepared for that want, then we will miss out. Theatre is a living thing, and if we push off the necessity of incorporating more and more digital avenues and communications into our operations, then we will continue to be seen as an art form from a bygone era, increasingly novel and irrelevant. If you are a theatre person like me (and I have to assume you are if you’re still reading this) then you know how vital theatre is to a vibrant, accepting, progressive, and self-reflective community. We’ve just had a year to practice virtual methods of expanding our influence, and we’d be outright idiots not to carry along the things that worked as we return to a new normal. A good idea? Maybe, but don’t call me brilliant. As you know, I put my tighty whiteys on one over-stretched leg hole at a time, just like the next guy.



GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM…


A big thanks to Matthew for sharing his ideas with us.


We especially like his take on the digital discussions that have taken place over the course of the past year and we also want to see them continue. Let us know what you think; we’d love to hear what our community at large thinks about streaming theatrical productions and the rest of Matthew’s ideas.


You may not know that we made the artistic and financial decision to forgo virtual streaming productions this past year for a couple of reasons: First, a high quality is difficult to capture via Zoom and other platforms. Of course, nothing can compare to the thrill of a live theatrical performance, and we feel that streaming is not in our technical or artistic wheelhouse. It’s an entirely different medium than theatre and requires a skill set that neither one of us personally possesses. Second, we are hampered by the costs of streaming rights (up to $6,000 just for the licensing fee) and the stipends we would have to pay technical wizards to help us set up streaming. All of this would wipe out our reserved funds, and our limited audience reach would never allow us to recoup our costs. It just doesn’t make financial sense, and we have to be good stewards of the donations that keep our company running.


Theatre inaccessibility has been an issue far longer than the pandemic has been around and the ability to stream a show can help close that gap.


We are not sure how this will look for an Honest Pint show, but it could include a hybrid of live as well as digital options. Perhaps one performance per run is live streamed. This would allow access to people that are not ready to gather in large groups and people that are homebound. Perhaps these streams are priced lower than the live in person performances. Perhaps there is more connection between audience and performer via live streamed rehearsals (for Patrons) or virtual talkbacks.


Regardless of how it happens, we know that we will need help in making it a reality. This means we will be looking for people that have skills in video, audio and streaming platforms. If you are one of these amazing humans please let us know. If you know any of these amazing humans put them in touch with us.


With a new hope springing this month, we feel like the light at the end of the very long tunnel may be near. Who knows what will happen in the next several months, but there is a possibility we could return to in-person performances by the end of 2021. We like possibilities. After all, that’s the magic of theatre and why it is so breathtaking - anything can happen! Cross your fingers!


In the meantime, please stay safe and well. Get vaccinated, continue to wear your mask, stay socially distant whenever possible, and be kind. It’s been such a trying year for all of us, and you have no idea what burdens other people may be carrying. We miss you dearly.


DRINK DEEP! 🍺


— Susannah and David

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