Theater in Quarantine Announces More Premieres, May 20 - June 21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:34 am EDT 05/22/21


Premieres by Caridad Svich and Dan O'Neil
New Commission by Ann Arbor Summer Festival and Partnerships with CultureHub and La MaMa

"Virtuosic... some of the new medium's most imaginative work." – Jesse Green, New York Times

"Makes confinement a virtue, a prompt to imagination." – Helen Shaw, Vulture

"The closet in question contains astounding multitudes." - Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker

Theater in Quarantine, a pandemic performance laboratory from writer, director, and performer Joshua William Gelb and choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, announces a new series of live-streamed performances, running May 20 - June 21, that push the boundaries of live performance inside the digital space. New collaborators include playwrights Caridad Svich and Dan O'Neil, actor Keith McDermott, and vocalist, songwriter, and producer Kyler Wilkins aka Ki5 who performs live from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Theater in Quarantine's new and continued partnerships include the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, CultureHub, and La MaMa. New works premiere on Thursday at 7pm and 9pm ET every three weeks at www.youtube.com/theaterinquarantine.

Premiering on May 20, La MaMa and CultureHub have commissioned The Little Hours by Obie-award winner Caridad Svich as part of their Experiments in Digital Storytelling program, which incubates story-driven artworks that harness digital distribution platforms, expand online audience engagement, and push the boundaries of current artistic forms.

Directed by Gelb and choreographed by McLaughlin, The Little Hours is a play-installation about two poet friends as they navigate their lives, and the delicate, vulnerable spaces in and between their friendship when one of them falls ill and the other is entrusted with setting down their shared thoughts and memories. The play is an investigation of faith, love, and grace, amidst scattered snapshots of an old artist-bohemian New York that may never return. We wait and dream in the little hours for a radical utopia, even while the world crumbles.

The Little Hours is performed by Keith McDermott and Gelb from separate closets across the East Village. It features video design by Gelb, sound by Kate Marvin, dramaturgy by Sarah Rose Leonard, and MiQ Software by Alex Hawthorn.

On June 10, Theater in Quarantine premieres The Nine O'Clock Problem by Dan O'Neil, a collectively built meta-faux-documentary of the inner and outer workings of Theater in Quarantine. Directed by Gelb and choreographed by McLaughlin, The Nine O'Clock Problem interrogates vulnerability via failure. The reality is that within that 28 second delay between when Gelb is actually live in his closet and when audiences see him, purportedly live, so much can go horribly wrong. Playing a version of himself, Gelb attempts to perform a one-man farce that goes quickly off the rails — and that's before Izzy wakes up.

On June 21, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival will present an evening of short works by Theater in Quarantine including a new commission featuring vocalist, songwriter, and producer Kyler Wilkins aka Ki5 who will perform live from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The complete archive of original works by Theater in Quarantine is available for free at www.youtube.com/theaterinquarantine. Please visit www.theaterinquarantine.com for more information.

About the Artists

Joshua William Gelb is an East Village-based director, performer, and librettist currently building theater out of his converted closet christened the Theater in Quarantine. On its YouTube channel, Theater in Quarantine has presented nearly 20 different evenings of live digital performance with institutional supporters La MaMa, CultureHub, Theater Mitu, and The Invisible Dog, as well as "a New York rogue's gallery of experimental makers and designers" (Helen Shaw, Vulture). Prior to the pandemic, Gelb created both Jazz Singer and The Black Crook in residence at Abrons Arts Center, while his Drama Desk-nominated adaptation of A Hunger Artist, created with Sinking Ship, continues to tour. Gelb participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, is an associate artist with Sinking Ship, teaches Theater Collaboration at Cooper Union, and is a 2021 artist in residence at La MaMa and CultureHub's Experiments in Digital Storytelling program.

Katie Rose McLaughlin is an NYC-based choreographer and director originally from Minneapolis, MN. Katie Rose is the Associate Choreographer of the Tony award-winning Broadway show Hadestown directed by Rachel Chavkin and choreographed by David Neumann. Recently she has been creating work as the co-Creative Director for Theater in Quarantine which has produced over 20 different evenings of work. Notable theater credits include Orlando (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Indecent (Weston Playhouse), Bear Slayer (Ars Nova), Triplight (Joes Pub), SEAGULLMACHINE (La MaMa ETC), and The Black Crook (Abrons Arts Center). She was an artist-in-residence at LMCC's Process Space, Dance Lab New York, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, the Barn Arts Collective, and LMCC's SPARC program and is a 2021 artist-in-residence at La MaMa and CultureHub's Experiments in Digital Storytelling program. In 2013, she co-founded and became the Artistic Director of Designated Movement Co., a dance/theater company interested in blurring the lines between forms. Visit Katierosemclaughlin.com for more information.

Caridad Svich (playwright, The Little Hours) received a 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement. Her work as a playwright, translator, lyricist, and essayist has been seen in print, live theatre and digital stages at diverse venues across the US and abroad. Key works in her repertoire include 12 Ophelias, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls..., Red Bike and The House of the Spirits (based on Isabel Allende's novel).
Recent premieres include The Book of Magdalene and Theatre: a love story. As a screenwriter, her first feature film ( as co-screenwriter, based on her play) Fugitive Dreams has been seen at the Fantasia, Austin, Tallinn Black Nights, Manchester (UK) and Maryland Film Festivals. Among her recognitions are an American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize, the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, and National Latino Playwriting Award (which she has received twice). She is founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press and an editor at Contemporary Theatre Review. They have edited several books on theatre. Her most recent book is on Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Routledge). She was awarde the 2018 Ellen Stewart Award for Career Achievement in Professional Theatre from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
Keith McDermott (performer, The Little Hours) began his professional career at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut. On Broadway, he starred opposite Richard Burton in Equus, played Harold in Harold and Maude and Tom in the Christopher Isherwood play Meeting by the River. He has worked at many Off Broadway theaters, including Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club and The Roundabout. He has worked in New York, Europe, Russia and Japan with the avant garde director, Robert Wilson. For fifteen years, he directed the plays of Jim Neu, most of them at La Mama, Etc. Mr. McDermott is also awriter. His novel, Acqua Calda, was shortlisted for a Lambda Award and a Gay & Lesbian National Book Award. A memoir essay on his Equus experience, The Boy In Burton's Shadow, has been optioned for film.

Dan O'Neil (playwright, The Nine O'Clock Problem) is an NYC-based writer who grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota, where he learned to drive a tractor, use a chainsaw, and identify various star constellations. Recent work includes: the alleged children of darkness, developed through Art House Productions reading series (Finalist for Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Semi-Finalist for Bay Area Playwright's Festival); librettist on The House of Influence, an experimental opera composed by Alec Hall and performed in a parking garage in Harlem; Bear Slayer, presented through a Project Residency by Ars Nova, developed during ANT Fest; The Wind Farmer, which received a production at Barter Theater and was a finalist for the ACTA/Steinberg Award for Best New Play produced outside of NYC and NNPN's Smith Prize for Best New Political play; Victor Frange Presents Gas, commissioned and produced at the Incubator Arts Project; How the Dog Runs, produced by Newman University as their first selection in a nation-wide initiative to produce new plays; Draw A Lion, a Heideman Award finalist, produced by the Brooklyn Generators and subsequently published by Smith & Kraus in their 2013 Best Ten Minute Plays collection. O'Neil was a member of the 2018-19 Art House Productions writing group, a Playwright's Center Core Apprentice and Affiliated Artist, a 2014 member of Bookshop Workshops Playwriting Group, two-time winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Screenwriting Award, and winner of the Mary Marlin Fisher Playwriting Award. Leadership roles include Theater Editor of Culturebot, contributing arts writer for Exeunt Magazine, and founder and co-artistic director for Designated Movement Co.

Vocalist, songwriter, and producer Kyler Wilkins (collaborator, A2SF commission) from Ann Arbor, Michigan has been performing as Ki5 using nothing but a loop station and a simple effects unit since 2017. His vibrant composition style – influenced by his time in a cappella groups – explores every crevice of the human voice meshed with beatboxing and delivers familiar genres such as R&B, pop, and soul to name a few. His honest, empathetic, and freeing style has been influenced by Reggie Watts, and Bon Iver. NPR's All Songs Considered says this about Ki5's 2019 live-looping performance of "Honey" off his first EP Looking for the Sun: "Like honey, [his] falsetto is sweet; the layers of loops are sticky and soothing, building to a celebratory bridge, then melting back down to calming waves."

About the Ann Arbor Summer Festival

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) is a performing arts presenter and beloved community institution. The mission of A2SF is to present a world-class celebration of arts and entertainment that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region. Each season features a progressive mix of over 200 events showcasing local, national, and international artists and a diverse audience of more than 80,000 people. The indoor ticketed series includes performances of world-class music, contemporary circus, dance, family entertainment, public radio shows, and comedy. Outdoor programming primarily takes place at Top of the Park, is held along a beautiful campus green on Ingalls, and offers admission-free concerts, Movies by Moonlight, open-air street spectacle, culinary treats, and unique family attractions. A2SF, which was originally formed as a partnership between the University of Michigan and the City of Ann Arbor and produced its first, full season in 1984. For more information on all festival events, please visit the A2SF website: www.a2sf.org.

About CutureHub

CultureHub is a global art and technology community that was born out of decades of collaboration between La MaMa and the Seoul Institute of the Arts, Korea's first contemporary performing arts school. These two pioneering institutions sought to explore how the internet and digital technologies could foster a more sustainable model for international exchange and creativity.

Now in its 11th year, CultureHub has grown into a global network with studios in New York, Los Angeles, Korea, Indonesia, and Italy, providing connected environments for artists to critically examine our evolving relationship to technology. Through residencies, live productions, and educational programming, CultureHub advances the work of artists experimenting with emerging technologies in search of new artistic forms. CultureHub builds new partnerships that expand our network and provide increased access to online and offline platforms that fuel artist mobility, create opportunities for cultural exchange, and broaden human understanding through the convergence of art, technology, and education.
About La MaMa
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa's "Breaking It Open" 59th Season explores how new work is created, performed and viewed using new technology and forms. La MaMa's vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961 and has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist's work over time.
A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

About Theater in Quarantine

Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic closed all theaters, Joshua William Gelb transformed a 2' x 4' x 8' closet inside his East Village apartment into a white-box theater. Starting on March 30, Gelb and his collaborators began releasing pre-recorded studies in movement, clown, camera orientation, and perspective, building towards more complex theatrical experiences. On April 23, they premiered Theater in Quarantine's first live-stream performance: an adaptation of Kafka's The Neighbor which was followed by an unauthorized edit of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape and collaborations with artists like Scott R. Sheppard (Underground Railroad Game), Nehemiah Luckett (Jazz Singer), and Ellen Winter (36 Questions).

Theater in Quarantine's productions of The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy and Footnote for the End of Time were met with critical acclaim. Jesse Green in his New York Times critic's pick review declared that Theater in Quarantine has produced "some of the new medium's most imaginative work from some of its simplest materials." Helen Shaw in Vulture wrote that Theater in Quarantine "makes confinement a virtue, a prompt to imagination." Maya Phillips in The New York Times noted, "These small-scale, digitally savvy productions have matched the texts in their idiosyncratic approaches."
Theater in Quarantine's first musical, I Am Sending You the Sacred Face, by Obie award-winner Heather Cristian was one of Vulture's Best Theater Moments of 2020. Helen Shaw found it "as beautiful a cause for meditation as anything in the Book of Psalms — and as worthy an object for devotion." Jesse Green in his New York Times critic's pick review noted, "Theater in Quarantine turns the constraints of its odd conditions into a marvelous style."

Additional works include Mute Swan by Pulitzer-prize finalist Madeleine George and Blood Meal by and Obie award-winner Scott R. Sheppard.

The complete archive of original works by Theater in Quarantine is available for free at www.youtube.com/theaterinquarantine. Please visit www.theaterinquarantine.com for more information.

Funding Credits

Theater in Quarantine's work is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC; and is generously supported by a Creative Residency with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club; as participants in LaMaMa and CultureHub's Experiments in Digital Storytelling program; the Mental Insight Foundation; and by their many individual donors.

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