|Perseverance Theatre Artistic Director, Leslie Ishii, and Associate Conservatory Director at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), Peter J. Kuo, announced on Wednesday, July 29, via live-stream that the first show of the Fall 2020 Season will be In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar. The show will be a co-production shared by the two theatres and will be live-streamed via Zoom. This is a limited engagement running September 4–12. Tickets will be available starting on August 14 at ptalaska.org.|
Peter J. Kuo will be directing the production. He has been teaching Live Video Theatre workshops with Perseverance since early June. Of the collaboration Peter says, “I’m honored and thrilled to be bringing this production of Madhuri Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft to Perseverance Theatre. It truly embraces this form I’ve been calling Live Video Theatre which takes the adrenaline of a live performance, the imagination of theatre, and merges it with the accessibility of streaming it from home.”
Live Video Theatre is a new performance medium that has emerged in the wake of COVID-19, a pandemic which makes large gatherings in spaces like theatres unsafe. In this new medium, the audience can watch live productions from the comfort and safety of their homes. The actors are socially distanced as well, often not even performing in the same state or region. Through design, lighting, and camera angles, the actors appear to be interacting with each other in the same space.
“Alaska has a long history of innovation in the face of obstacles. In these challenging times, I am excited at the prospect of being able to continue that history as we explore a new way of engaging with our communities,” says Frank Delaney, Managing Director of Perseverance Theatre. Since COVID-19 hit earlier this year, Perseverance has stayed active despite having to close their final show of the 2019/20 season, Fun Home, just before it opened. The theatre was able to record several scenes from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and subsequently released a series of behind-the-scenes videos. Perseverance has also been working with The City and Borough of Juneau, as well as Bartlett Regional Hospital to produce several health and safety PSAs in response to this global health crisis. Now they are looking forward to persevering and creating an unprecedented season.
“I am so thrilled to be working with Peter J. Kuo, a true innovator in our theatre field. Peter is providing us the opportunity to reimagine our relationship to storytelling. Stories performed live and witnessed together help us to process life. Providing the opportunity to continue to connect to live storytelling is so needed during this pandemic.” says Perseverance Artistic Director, Leslie Ishii. As an alumnus of the American Conservatory Theatre, Ishii adds, “This co-production is wholly inspiring, and I am excited to bravely venture into this new realm together. I invite our audiences to join us on this virtual journey!”
In Love and Warcraft tells the story of College senior Evie Malone, who prefers the online role-playing game World of Warcraft to real life. In the game, she’s a fearless warrior with a boyfriend. In real life, she ghostwrites love letters for people, even though she’s never been in love. When Evie becomes attracted to her client Raul, she must decide whether to let her powerful and sexy warrior character out in the real world. Playwright Madhuri Shekar (House of Joy, HBO’s upcoming The Nevers) conjures a cosplay-loving romantic comedy about intimacy and love in the digital age. Because so much of the play takes place in a virtual forum – an online video game, the format lends itself perfectly to a streamed production.
Perseverance Theatre will be announcing the rest of their Fall 2020 Season in August.
“Our exciting collaboration with Peter J. Kuo is supporting Perseverance Theatre to offer inspired and safely created offerings during these challenging times,” says Ishii.