Spotlight: Theater collaborations make new digital premieres possible

  • Trap Door Theatre ensemble member Michael Mejia directs the international digital production of "Alas" by Romanian playwright Matei Visniec.

    Trap Door Theatre ensemble member Michael Mejia directs the international digital production of "Alas" by Romanian playwright Matei Visniec.

 
 
Updated 7/31/2020 5:32 AM

Trap Door online

Chicago's Trap Door Theatre, in association with its sister company Trap Door International in Barcelona, Spain, presents a digital production of "Alas" from Romanian playwright Matei Visniec's "Cabaret of Words." Performed in Afrikaans, Catalan, Italian, Spanish and English, "Alas" is a tale about liberty and complacency. In it, citizens who live in a perfect world confront their privilege and complicity. Chicago ensemble member Michael Mejia directs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Opens Friday, July 31, online at trapdoortheatre.com. Tickets are pay-what-you-can with $10 suggested donation.

'Of Dice and Men'

Otherworld Theatre remounts its 2014 production "Of Dice and Men -- A Play About Dungeons and Dragons" redesigned for a digital platform. Written by Cameron McNary, the comedy is about dungeon master John Francis who presides over a regular game with fellow D&D aficionados. However, after one of the players enlists in the army and John's romance with another stalls, he considers hanging up his 20-sided dice.

Available Friday, July 31, through Friday, Aug. 14, online at Otherworld's YouTube page. Access is free until Aug. 14. See otherworldtheatre.org.

Khalia Davis adapted and directed "A Kids Play About Racism," produced in cooperation with 37 American children's theaters including the Chicago Children's Theatre.
Khalia Davis adapted and directed "A Kids Play About Racism," produced in cooperation with 37 American children's theaters including the Chicago Children's Theatre.
Virtual premiere

Chicago Children's Theatre collaborates with 37 other young audience theaters from around the country for the virtual premiere of "A Kids Play About Racism," adapted from Jelani Memory's "A Kids Book About Racism." Adapted and directed by Khalia Davis, it is performed by a cast and creative team composed of Black, indigenous and artists of color from around the country.

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"When I wrote 'A Kids Book About Racism,' I wrote it for my own kids. I never could have imagined it would have spread so far and wide to thousands of kids all over the world, or turned into a nationwide theatrical event. I am thrilled to see what Khalia and these other amazing artists create," said Memory in a prepared statement.

The free show begins streaming Saturday, Aug. 1, at get.broadwayondemand.com.

In other news

• The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival offers free, online puppetry workshops taught by local artists. Tom Lee, co-director of Chicago Puppet Studio and puppeteer from "War Horse," leads an introduction to shadow puppetry from Aug. 1-8. Festival director Blair Thomas leads a seminar on constructing a tabletop toy theater from Aug. 8-15. Multimedia artist Myra Su introduces participants to constructing "crankies," or scrolling panoramas, from Aug. 15-22. The workshops are designed for adults with some performance or builder's experience. The price is $185 for five 2-hour sessions. See chicagopuppetfest.org.

• Northwestern University's Imagine U Storytime series consisting of 15-minute videos of family-friendly stories performed by NU faculty, alumni and students has been extended through Aug. 9. The videos air at 6 p.m. Sundays on the Wirtz Center YouTube channel. The schedule is: Sunday, Aug. 2: Rives Collins, chair of the university's theater department, directs recent alumni in the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach"; Sunday, Aug. 9: 2020 alum Carly Mazer reads "Chrysanthemum," a story about teasing and self-esteem written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Search the Wirtz Center on youtube.com.

• PlayMakers Laboratory hosts its Celebration of Authors, a virtual gala featuring digital adaptations of students' works, celebrity appearances and musical performances, from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Proceeds benefit PlayMakers' creative writing residencies in Chicago Public Schools. See playmakerslab.org/events.

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