Leela Dance Collective presents ReSound, a 5-day celebration of kathak dance

Leela Dance Collective presents ReSound, a 5-day celebration of kathak dance, featuring street performances and workshops to educate and inspire audiences of all ages. The Kathak (pronounced cut - tuck) dance form can be traced back to the kathakas from 400 BCE who were the traveling storytellers and artists of ancient India. In modern times, the art form has emerged on the presidium stage and traveled outside of India, finding expression in diasporic communities throughout the US and beyond.

One of kathak’s most notable characteristics is the fast, percussive footwork dancers perform by striking their bare feet on the floor using various techniques. In addition, it is known for swift pirouettes, a dynamic movement vocabulary, and compelling character portrayal. Kathak is typically performed with North Indian classical Hindustani music, which provides an exhilarating soundscape and a very collaborative environment for the artists. Dancers wear a string of 150-200 bells around each ankle to ornament their footwork and movements, and to highlight the rhythmic sophistication of the artform.

 

In Los Angeles, free street performances will take place at such iconic locations as Santa Monica’s 3rd St Promenade, DTLA’s Grand Park, Pasadena’s Memorial Park, Culver City’s Town Plaza, Woodland Hills’ The Village at Topanga, and the Oak Canyon Community Park showcasing kathak dance at its best. The $10 workshops are a great opportunity for individuals to experience kathak first hand, the way that kathak dance can ground the body, focus the mind, and uplift the spirit. Workshops are held at some of LA's most popular studios including Evolution Studios, Electric Lodge, The Vault, and Diaz Studio of Dance in Culver City.

Culver City performances include a Free Pop-up Performance on Sunday, Sept 26, at 5:30 p.m. in Town Plaza, 9500 Culver Blvd, Culver City; with two $10 Workshops: The Indian Avatars on Sun, Sept 26, 3:00-4:00 p.m., at Diaz Studio of Dance, 3816 Culver Ctr, Culver City, in which kids ages 5 and up are introduced to kathak and learn coordination, movement rhythm, music and dramatic expression as they delve into the rich world of Indian mythology; and Movement, Music & Meditation on Sun, Sept 26, 4:00-5:00 p.m., at Diaz Studio of Dance, 3816 Culver Ctr, Culver City, in which participants discover the beauty and dynamism of kathak by being introduced to the technique, movement, music and poetry of the art form woven together into an experience that is meditation in motion. To register for free events and $10 workshops, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resound-kathak-in-the-streets-los-angeles-tickets-158038416157

The concept and arrangement of the ReSound repertoire is curated by Rina Mehta, senior disciple of kathak legend Pandit Chitresh Das and cofounder of the critically acclaimed Leela Dance Collective, and showcases Das’ original compositions and choreography, while featuring a new generation of emerging kathak dancers trained in his iconic style: Sonali Toppur, Ahana Mukherjee, Carrie McCune, and Ria DasGupta.

After more than a year of living in fear and isolation, we are thrilled to see our neighborhoods and communities start to come back to life. To do our part, we are quite literally dancing with joy - on street corners and promenades and at community parks and outdoor malls across Los Angeles and San Francisco,” shares Rina Mehta, whose work is grounded in the belief that kathak dance can be a powerful tool for empowerment and social change.

Founded and led by women, Leela Dance Collective’s central aim is to advance the voices of women artists and choreographers while providing a space for women to lead and create outside the confines of a traditional male-defined framework of leadership, mentorship, and artistic practice. Through their productions they hope to bring together artists and communities across race, ethnicity, and religion. It is through such exchange that Leela Dance Collective continues to engage with their own artistic tradition, remaking it for contemporary audiences.

For more information, watch the ReSound trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS6eyK09TPs and check out their moves on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/LeelaDanceCollective. View the complete ReSound schedule at https://leela.dance/resound/

Performances - Free

Friday, Sept 24, 12:30 p.m.:  Grand Park, DTLA

Friday, Sept 24, 6:30 p.m.:  The Village at Topanga, Woodland Hills

- Saturday, Sept 25, 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.:  3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

Saturday, Sept 25, 5:30 p.m.:  Memorial Park, Pasadena
(featuring performance by Los Angeles’ inaugural Leela Youth Dance Company)

- Sunday, Sept 26, 11:30 a.m.: Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Dr, Oak Park

(part of the Kathak Karnival featuring additional family activities, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Sunday, Sept 26, 5:30 p.m.: Town Plaza, 9500 Culver Blvd, Culver City

Workshops - $10

- Before Bollywood: Wed, Sept 22, 7:00-8:00 p.m., The Vault Dance Studio, 57 Palmetto Dr, Pasadena Before Bollywood there was kathak,
known for its grandeur, beauty, and elegance. Join us for a workshop that introduces you to the movement, music and expression of this dynamic art form. Students of all levels and backgrounds are welcome.

- Bare Feet Beats: Thurs, Sept 23, 7:00-8:00 p.m., Evolution Dance Studios, 10816 Burbank Blvd, NoHo
Dive into the dynamic world of kathak. Move, groove, jam and slam as you learn how to make rhythm and music with your bare feet. Students of all levels and backgrounds welcome.

From Sensuality to Spirituality: Sat, Sept 25, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave, Venice

Radha is one of India's most beloved goddesses. Her love, devotion and yearning for Krishna is a metaphor for our relationship to the divine. As we explore Radha's love for Krishna through the art of kathak, classical dance of North India we explore the eternal human search for the divine. Students of all levels and backgrounds welcome.

- The Indian Avatars: Sun, Sept 26, 12:00-1:00pmOak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Dr, Oak Park

In this workshop, kids are introduced to kathak, classical dance of North India. Kids learn coordination, movement rhythm, music and dramatic expression as they delve into the rich world of Indian mythology. For kids, ages 5 and up. Part of the Kathak Karnival featuring additional family activities.

The Indian Avatars: Sun, Sept 26, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Diaz Studio of Dance, 3816 Culver Ctr, Culver City

In this workshop, kids are introduced to kathak, classical dance of North India. Kids learn coordination, movement rhythm, music and dramatic expression as they delve into the rich world of Indian mythology. For kids, ages 5 and up.

Movement, Music & Meditation: Sun, Sept 26, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Diaz Studio of Dance, 3816 Culver Ctr, Culver City

Discover the beauty and dynamism of kathak. Workshop participants are introduced to the technique, movement, music and poetry of the art form woven together into an experience that is meditation in motion.

Family Festival - $10

Kathak Karnival: Sun, Sept 26, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Dr, Oak Park
Enjoy dance, music, food, and fun - $10 admission includes an exclusive performance of ReSound by Leela Dance Collective, with an opening performance by Los Angeles' inaugural Leela Youth Dance Company, as well as kathak workshops for children, youth, and adults. Register now and get unlimited access to family activities including henna art, face painting, photo booths, gift giveaways, and more. Free parking.


Spotlight Series: Meet Costume Designer and Educator Halei Parker Who Makes Art a Part of Her Everyday Life


This Spotlight focuses on Costume Designer and Educator Halei Parker, who I first met in the dressing room at the Clark Library when she showed up with a wonderful variety of cleverly designed costumes for the publicity photo shoot for Lady Windermere’s Fan when I was the publicist for Chalk Repertory Theatre. Halei really opened my eyes to the possibilities for character interpretation that a costume designer can bring to a show.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

“Lady Windermere's Fan” with Chalk Repertory Theatre and the Clark Rare Book Library

Halei Parker (Halei): I'm a freelance costume designer for theatre, opera, dance, immersive experiences, and film. I'm also an educator, and think of myself as a storyteller and world creator. The projects that excite me the most are deeply collaborative and are usually highly stylized and a little weird, especially since I love mixing ideas from disparate sources to create something magical and new.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out it needed to immediately be either postponed or cancelled?

“Gallery Secrets” with Chalk Repertory Theatre and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum

(Halei): I was mentoring students and beginning to source and fabric shop for a production of Sweeney Todd at Cal State LA when we were shut down. I was also beginning the design phase for the Getty Villa summer show. This year the Troubies (Troubadour Theatre Company) were going to be performing our new original musical LIZAstrata (think Los Vegas Liza Minnelli meets Aristophanes' Lysistrata meets the Troubies). Thankfully I had just wrapped shooting on a film and closed the show Earthquakes In London at Rogue Machine right before the world turned upside down.

“How The Princh Stole Christmas” with Troubadour Theatre Company

(SB): Here is the link to my review of the multimedia “Earthquakes on London” at Rogue Machine which examined the effects of global warming.

How were the shutdowns communicated with the cast and production team?

George Takei in “Allegiance” with East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

(Halei): For Sweeney, we heard in our production meeting, two days before the Stay-At-Home order. The Liza news came at the end of March. We all saw it coming, but I was really hoping it would still manage to go on. The world could really use some more Troubie joy about now. It was pretty crushing. At this point, we are looking at postponements for both of those, and thankfully not cancellations.

(SB): I really loved all the outrageous costumes you designed for the Troubies “A Christmas Carole King” which I saw at the El Portal last December.

What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Halei): The whole rest of my year is now in flux, since no one really knows when we will be allowed to gather together again to experience live theatre in a group setting. I'm just trying to keep all my fingers and toes crossed that we can make stories for the world again before the year is out.

“Hairy Ape” with Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Halei): Art is always alive in my home. More than half of my apartment is actually a costume shop, so I'm surrounded by fabrics and my tools. I've been able to keep busy by making hundreds of masks from my eclectic stock of fabrics, and have done a few costume challenges that have proven to be quite fun. I'm trying to curb my use of social media.... somewhat. That is especially true when I am designing and creating costumes for shows.

I'm also feeding my need to make Art for others right now by making a mural for my building on the wall of our little garden.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Halei): Chin up, loves. The world is going to need us more than ever when we are allowed to meet again. Just keep that passion alive in your heart.

You can find my work on Instagram HaleiParkerDesign and me at HaleiPie.


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Christine Joëlle, a Versatile Actor Who Also Runs a Successful Pet Care Service


This Spotlight focuses on Christine Joëlle, an actress I first saw onstage in the summer of 2004 as Madge Owens in Picnic, directed by Gail Bernardi for Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse. Christine and I went on to work together in many productions for the community theatre group, both onstage and on production teams. Since then, I have been fortunate to follow her path across the stages of professional theatre companies all over town, always enjoying her ability to transform herself into a great variety of characters – often during the same show!  And I am also a very happy customer of her pet care service, Movin’ Paws.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background? 

Christine Joëlle (CJ): I graduated from James Madison University and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have worked in several theaters all around the city, having performed in over 60 stage productions. I am a proud theatre company member of THE ROAD and THEATRE 40 and union member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

Jennifer Laks, Lary Ohlson and Christine Joëlle in "Night Watch" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(CJ): I was currently working on Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda by Jerry Mayer at The Santa Monica Playhouse. We were on its 4th extension before having to postpone until a future date.

Christine Joëlle in “Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Photo by Evelyn Rudie

(SB): How was the shutdown communicated with the cast and production team? 

(CJ): Via emails and phone calls. Ultimately, we came to a mutual decision to close the theatre for our and our patron’s safety.

(SB):  Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(CJ): Our producers, Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo will most likely resume running the show. I have no doubt that all the cast members would be delighted to return.

(SB): I really enjoyed Mistakes Were Made: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda and all the characters you played in it. It’s so much fun to attend a show that keeps you laughing - and crying - at the same time from start to finish at such universal human foibles! Here is my review on Broadway World.

What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown? 

Christine Joëlle in the immersive theatre show “Delusion”

(CJ): I was not planning to be in other shows at the moment. But I do have a strong feeling many fall shows and activities may not happen either. For example, the Haunted Play production staff of the immersive theatre show Delusion will most likely not take place this year because it’s the type of show where you must secure and rent a location by May/June in order for production planning to commence.

Caleb Slavens, Alison Blanchard, Christine Joëlle and Christian Pedersen in "Flare Path" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(CJ): I’m definitely becoming a master of ZOOM chats! Ha! And am putting my self-tape skills to good use as well.

I am also the owner and CEO of a successful pet care service called Movin’ Paws. So, I’ve been busy keeping it movin’ during these crazy times. If you need any dog/cat care for your furry ones, we’d be delighted to lend a helping paw. Check out our services at MovinPaws.com 

(SB): My dog Cody, bird Ernie, and I all highly recommend Movin’ Paws for their excellent service and personal care of your pets! 

What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(CJ): Stay Strong and Safe. Without our health, our return to the stage shall take longer. The Arts and our creative community shall never die. We shall need it now more than ever. Keep that creative flow going!

(SB): And in closing to you personally, Christine – windmills!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Martin Thompson - A Recovering Soap Opera Actor, Official Sherlock Holmes Performer, & Acting Instructor at NY Film Academy


This Spotlight focuses on Martin Thompson, a self-proclaimed recovering soap opera actor who often graces stages as an “Official Sherlock Holmes Performer” and now frequents the stage or directs at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, and also appears in films and on TV series. And as a distinguished member of the acting faculty at The New York Film Academy, Martin now teaches an Acting for Film class online. Read on to find out more about this talented actor who recently directed an outstanding production of The Manor at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Martin Thompson as Sherlock Holmes

Martin Thompson (Martin): I’m a recovering and repentant former New York soap opera actor (All My Children, Guiding Light, The Edge of Night) with numerous award-winning and critically-acclaimed New York and regional stage performances across the country, which are now most likely forgotten – and perhaps best left to the imagination.

Today, however, I continue my meteoric rise to obscurity by working in Los Angeles Theatre! As a company member at Theatre 40, I was last seen in the American Premiere of Renovations for Six, and reprising my role as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily. In fact, I've been named an “Official Sherlock Holmes Performer” by the Diogenes Club, UK, the International Sherlock Holmes Society, for my numerous appearances as the iconic detective. Remind me to tell you about the time a collector on eBay got more bids for my autograph than for Benedict Cumberbatch’s!

 

In my spare time, I also enjoy appearing on television and in major motion pictures with many big Hollywood stars who probably don't remember working with me. I co-star with Kevin Costner in The New Daughter, opposite Paul Rudd in Wanderlust, and with Colin Firth in Main Street (the final screenplay by the legendary Horton Foote). My television credits include Lake Effects with Jane Seymour for Hallmark, NCIS: Los AngelesCriminal MindsScorpionComedy Bang Bang, and Uncle Buck: a very short-lived comedy on ABC. And, I’m currently appearing in the first season of the new series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels which premieres on Showtime this month.

Martin Thompson in "Wanderlust" (Universal Pictures)

I'm also a somewhat distinguished member of the acting faculty at The New York Film Academy, where I'm proud to guide a new generation of actors toward their dreams of becoming just as rich and famous as I am!

(SB): You certainly are staying busy!  What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

Jennifer Lee Laks and Martin Thompson in "Night Watch" at Theatre 40

(Martin): I had just finished directing the Theatre 40 production of The Manor at Greystone Mansion, and we actually closed about two weeks before the "safer at home" order hit. So, we were lucky that we got to finish the run! It was our 18th Season, and we surpassed our 300th performance this year. We produce The Manor under an Equity contract each year, so not only are the actors paid, but one of my former students who I cast in the lead this year, qualified for her Equity card with this production, and is now a proud union member! So, I was happy that we got through the run! (SB) For those who have never attended a performance of The Manor during any of its 18 seasons, here is my 2020 review of the production, which is staged in the actual mansion where the tragic events occurred.

(Martin): Unfortunately, I was also scheduled to begin production this month on a feature film, an audio production for Audacity, and as a potential Series Regular on two TV Pilots! But those are now on hold until an undetermined later date… if they happen at all.

(SB): How were the shutdowns communicated with the cast and production team?

(Martin): One of the TV Pilots had just begun production when the shut-down hit. The producers thought they could still shoot the first episode, but unfortunately, they were wrong. The producers of both pilots, the feature film, and the producers from Audacity reached out to the cast and crew via email to let us know that we would stop production immediately. So, we’re all out of work until we get the all-clear!

(SB): Are plans in place to present any of those productions at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(Martin): We’re all in a wait-and-see posture right now. The audio program has been cancelled completely, but the feature film has a chance of coming back, if they can hold on to their investors. The two television pilots will miss the window for Pilot Season, so they may have to reformat their current plans. It’s likely, that if we do have the opportunity to shoot the pilots, that they will not be going to network television but rather be shopped to online distributors, which may change the nature of the series or the number of episodes. We just don’t know right now. I’m just hoping that they’ll reach out to me again, once they get the go-ahead to start production!

(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Mona Lee Wylde and MartinThompson in "Renovations for Six" at Theatre 40

(Martin): I’m fortunate in that I’m still teaching as an Acting Instructor at New York Film Academy here in Los Angeles. The school shut down on March 13th, but we are still attempting to teach classes online with Zoom. It’s admittedly a little weird trying to teach an acting class online, but we’re doing the best we can. Fortunately, my current class is an Acting for Film class, so working on camera (even if it’s a webcam!) still fits into the general nature of the class.

We were supposed to be shooting the students’ final films this month, but those plans are out the window since we can’t go on location, or even be in the same room. So, we’re attempting to shoot an entire film with each student self-taping themselves for their scenes! I’ve got some really bright and talented students who have written an entire script which allows all the scenes to be shot in individual close-ups. It’s sort of a combination of an Agatha Christie murder mystery and a Christopher Guest mockumentary. And it’s very funny!

So, we’re having a lot of fun, and it’s given my students a unique and creative outlet during our quarantine time. I’m not sure what will happen, though, once this semester ends in May. It’s likely that the school will remain closed for much of the Summer, so I may be out of work… again!

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the LA Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Martin): This is a strange time for all of us in the creative arts, especially in the Theatre since ours is such a collaborative field. We simply cannot do what we do without everyone else - and especially without an audience! So, being alone in quarantine can easily take its toll. Suddenly we find ourselves with nothing to do, and no one to do it with. It can feel depressing, scary, and even futile at times. I know I’ve felt all of those things in the last few weeks. And, that’s ok!

It’s perfectly acceptable right now to take care of yourself. There’s no need to push yourself to “Keep the theatre alive.” Because right now, Live Theatre is dead since it requires an in-person performance in front of a live audience. Without those ingredients, it simply does not exist. So, let’s not feel compelled to move theatre online, or to force people to watch our new monologues on YouTube. I would actually prefer to binge-watch anything on Netflix right now, rather than to sit through a staged reading of “Uncle Vanya" on Zoom!

(SB): I understand what you are saying about Live Theatre, but I still believe Theatre itself as an art form now lives online in many forms. It’s just the unspoken, interactive, and emotional give-and-take that is missing without the live audience.

(Martin): Certainly many of us are continuing our studies, learning new monologues, reading plays, updating resumes and websites, and doing all of that actor “busy work." But I would urge my fellow actors not to feel compelled to do anything if you don’t want to. Take care of yourself. That’s the most important thing you can do right now. When we come out of this - and we will - things will be much different, and I certainly hope the Theatre will be different! I don’t think we will see the old models of theatre companies and productions as we know them now, especially since many of the smaller companies in LA will no longer exist while many of the larger companies will need to restructure.

And we will all need to ask ourselves “Why do we do this?” and, “Who do we do this for?” Our relationship with our audiences must change in order to keep Theatre alive in the future. We cannot ask them to simply sit numbly and watch us perform. We must realize that they are an integral part of our performance and must find new ways to welcome them in and involve them.

I look forward to seeing a newer and more vibrant Theatre community in the future, with truly innovative and engaging works which speak with a new and compelling voice to our currently shell-shocked audiences. They deserve that from us! And we must listen to their needs in order to bring them back. Then, and only then, can we all move forward together.

I would love to hear from other actors, artists, playwrights, designers, and students who are all in the same boat - or in your own little boats floating around. And, if there is anything I can do to help, encourage, or just listen - I’m happy to do that. I can be found at the following social links, and I’ll look forward to hearing from anyone who’d like to reach out:

Twitter: twitter.com/MartinThomActor

Instagram: instagram.com/MartinThompsonActor

Facebook: facebook.com/MartinThompsonActor


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Spotlight Series: Meet Jennifer Chang, a Director, Actor and Educator Who Helped Found Chalk Repertory Theatre


This Spotlight focuses on Jennifer Chang, a director, actor and educator who helped found Chalk Repertory Theatre, a production company which matches plays to site-specific locations around Los Angeles. I first worked with Jennifer on Chalk Rep’s production of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan which featured a multicultural cast, performed outdoors throughout the lawns and courtyards at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles where the pre-eminent collection of Oscar Wilde materials in the world is housed.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Jennifer Chang (Jennifer): I am a director, actor and educator.  I helped found Chalk Repertory Theatre and am currently a Visiting Professor at Pomona College and will return to UCSD this fall and continue my role as Head of Undergraduate Acting. I staged Chalk Rep’s immersive productions at site-specific locations around Los Angeles because I believe architecture affects human psyche, and I’m curious as to how unconventional spaces can illuminate and unpack story, especially since storytelling provides opportunities for communion and conversation for promoting empathy in order to inspire action and change.

The cast of Chalk Rep's production of Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan" directed by Jennifer Chang included (from left): Feodor Chin, Scott Keiji Takeda, Allie Jennings, Teri Reeves, Owiso Odera, Amielynn Abellera, Brian Staten, Tess Lina, Peter Wylie, and George Wyhinny
Photo credit: Shari Barrett.

I also believe it is vital to tell stories that challenge mainstream ideas, hold the door to opportunity open to diverse groups of artists, and I hope to dismantle notions of elitism in theater while pursuing rigor and excellence through fun and artful theatricality. I love language – its syncopation, musicality and power. And as a child of immigrants, I am interested in investigating what it means to be an American.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(Jennifer): We (the theatre company and I) were in the midst of casting The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan at Antaeus Theatre Company when the shelter-in-place orders and subsequent shutdowns were implemented.  While we held out hoping that we might be able to continue or postpone, since rehearsal was scheduled to begin at the end of April, it became evident that the show was not going to be able to proceed as planned and the cast and production team were informed via Zoom, phone calls and emails.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

Jennifer Chang in "director mode"

(Jennifer): Its future is currently under discussion by the artistic leadership at Antaeus. The artistic directors and executive director have been absolutely supportive of the show and the vision and want to make sure they are responding to the science and information our state and city leaders are providing and with the longevity of the theatre company in mind. In general, I think only the institutions can really respond to this question, not the individual artists, but even then, it's difficult to predict what will or won't be happening in the next year or so.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Jennifer): I was in early talks for various projects but I have not had follow-up discussions as would be the norm. All institutions seem to be in a wait-and-see stage.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Jennifer): I'm still teaching my classes via Zoom and the on-line academic portal Sakai. Zoom has been the tool used for play readings that I've been and will be a part of in the future. Personally, I've been using this time to do many domestic projects that I enjoy that my schedule usually doesn't allow for, including baking, knitting, crafting, and doing my part to help make masks as I think my current state of watchfulness is best soothed by doing with my hands rather than the usual art-making. I've been asked to be a part of others' projects that utilize smart phones but have not initiated projects myself. I think I'm in a grieving period right now and am taking a break from my own personal theatre projects. I'm happy to be contributing to others' work.

Vietnamese refugees hit the road to see America in "Vietgone", directed by Jennifer Chang for East/West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Jennifer): We will need to be patient and resilient, and whatever one needs to do to survive the wait is important and good. You can make art or not make anything and that is absolutely alright. If you feel like doing and making something that's awesome, and if you don't feel like doing anything at all, that's awesome too! Theatre has survived multiple pandemics so it will be back as soon as we are able, but the road back will require patience and adaptation and we are all coping in different ways and on different timelines. I think practicing patience for each other will be vital.

We are incredibly lucky to live in an age where content can reach us in our homes, and food and other necessities can be delivered to our doors. My family and I are incredibly privileged to be able to partake in these modern luxuries and to be citizens in a wonderful state and city where science and data are appreciated and heeded. While it is a real challenge to be separated from the various communities we are accustomed to being a part of, I am so very thankful that my family is safe and well and that our quarantine can help our larger community.

Being a theatre practitioner is an incredible training ground for understanding collaboration, care and empathy for others. While our theatre brethren are hard hit in the repercussions of separation and shutdown, we are also uniquely able to understand how our contributions fit in communion with others. A big thank you and virtual hug to everyone!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar: Virtual Online and Future Shows Now Registered - May 30 - April 5, 2020


Calling all Artists


Better Lemons now includes all Online Live Events in our Calendar!

Online Pre-recorded Events will be posted on our Video page!

To register your virtual theater or performance events that are streaming at a specific time and date on our Event Registration page.

If you have pre-recorded art since practicing social distancing, please send us the link and we will add your show to our Video page.

For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page!


Online Live


Smartphone Theatre

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Rachel Chavkin and Carson Kreitzer in Conversation

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A PLAY ABOUT DAVID MAMET WRITING A PLAY ABOUT HARVEY WEINSTEIN

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