AJT May 2020 NEWSLETTER

This Issue: 2020 Virtual Conference, June Webinar, & More

AJT’s 2020 Virtual Conference & AJT’s 2021 Conference in Washington, D.C.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s 2020 conference will be rescheduled to 2021 in Washington D.C. and hosted by Theater J, exact dates to be determined. Additionally, AJT will host a virtual convening in October, 2020, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.


We are excited to create more accessibility for participants around the world. The Alliance for Jewish Theatre's 2020 Virtual Conference will allow us to connect with more of our community than we ever have before.

AJT's Zoom Platform 101 Workshop with Marc Frost (AJT June 2020 Monthly Webinar)

WEBINAR DETAILS:

What - AJT's Zoom Platform 101 Workshop with Marc Frost

Who - Marc Frost, Founder & Managing Artistic Director of Theater Unspeakable

When - Sunday, June 14, 12pm - 1:30pm Central Time (starting at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific)

How - via Zoom, email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org for the link

Tickets - Free for AJT Members, $20 for Non-Members

RSVP and More Info - email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org


ZOOM PLATFORM 101 – In this physical theater workshop, participants will discover practical ways to turn limitations into possibilities. The “platform” style was first developed by renowned French theater-maker Jacques Lecoq and challenges creators to bring an epic story to life in a very small space. Typically, Marc's shows involve seven actors sharing one tiny platform, 3 feet x 7 feet, but the work has also been adapted to fit one actor-creator stuck inside a Zoom frame. Participants will delve into the fundamentals of the platform including world-building, condensed storytelling and explosive characterization, which will culminate with participants creating a condensed story on the "platform".


Marc Frost is an actor, deviser, educator and Chicago native who has performed and produced work in Brazil, Ireland, Spain, the USA and the UK. He created Theater Unspeakable as a platform for original works of devised, physical theater. Based in Chicago, the award-winning company has toured nationally to thousands of young audiences at venues including Lincoln Center Education (NY) and Kennedy Center (DC). He also co-founded Physical Festival Chicago, an international physical theater festival, which has celebrated 6 annual editions. He currently teaches physical theater at DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago. He is a proud graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute’s 14-Week Training Program for Commercial Theatre Producers in New York City and received his MFA in Lecoq-Based Actor-Created Theater from the London International School of Performing Arts.

Recording of AJT Artistic Director Panel: Programming during Covid-19 Webinar

Recording of AJT Artistic Director Panel: Programming during Covid-19 Webinar


As you can see from the top photo, we had robust attendance of more than 40 participants for our Artistic Director Panel Zoom webinar. If you were unable attend and wanted to know what was said, don't despair, a recording of the event is available. These materials are free for AJT Members and $20 for non-members and will be available until Sunday, June 21, 2020. Email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org to receive the password.


Recording


What – AJT Artistic Director Panel: Programming during Covid-19 May 2020 Webinar

Who – Host/Panelist: Ralph Meranto, Artistic Director of CenterStage Theatre, Rochester, NY

Panelists – Adam Immerwahr, Artistic Director of Theater J, Washington D.C.

Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director of Jewish Women’s Theatre & The Braid, Los Angeles, CA

Barbara Brooks, Founder & Producing Artistic Director of Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, St. Paul, Minnesota

AJT Virtual Pop-Up Event with Jewish Plays Project and Jewish Repertory Theatre

AJT June 2020 Virtual Pop-Up Event on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Jewish Plays Project and Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western NY presents…

2020 National Jewish Playwriting Contest – Digital Edition

It’s part TED Talk, part Play Reading and part American Idol. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see on Zoom this month, and it’s a total blast. The Jewish Plays Project has sorted through over 150 plays, vetted them with the amazing JRT Readers in Buffalo, and gotten it down to just 3 Finalists. Now we need YOU to help us choose a Buffalo winner!

Register for FREE at www.jewishplaysproject.org/livestream or at https://jewishrepertorytheatre.com/

Contact: David Winitsky, david@jewishplaysproject.org

You must register to attend the Zoom call.

AJT Members and Theatres: Bulletin Board

Central Massachusetts Jewish Theatre Company (Worcester, MA,) in conjunction with CenterStage Theatre of Rochester, NY, invites you to join playwright Wendy Kout and director Ralph Meranto for a riveting and inspirational discussion of Wendy’s play, Survivors. A production photo from Survivors appears above.


Crafted from the actual testimonies of 10 holocaust survivors, this play puts a human face on this important time in history. A cautionary tale on the risks of normalized hate, this inspirational and uplifting drama ensures that the voices of our survivors will never be silenced.


Live Streaming: Sunday 5/31 at 7pm (EST). Register for the discussion here!

Theater J (Washington D.C.) is offering its “classes for theater lovers” online over Zoom. These are live, virtual classes for those who want to deepen their experience of live theater, or use the tools of theater to enrich other life experiences. Classes are taught by extraordinary professional theater artists, and no prior experience is required for any classes.


Classes: Sign up and more information here!


Theatre Ariel (Philadelphia, PA) - Salon Ariel usually features an evening of Jewish theatre, conversation, and dessert in the intimate setting of private homes in the suburbs of Philadelphia.


This time Theatre Ariel is going to re-create that Salon experience for you in the intimate setting of your home with the world premiere of The Scribe written and performed by Jesse Bernstein


Live Streaming: Wednesday 5/27 at 7pm (EST), Saturday 5/30 at 8pm (EST), and Sunday 5/31 at 2pm (EST). Reserve tickets here!


West Coast Jewish Theatre (Los Angeles, CA) - WCJT is pleased to share a video with a personal introductory message and a montage of their past productions called ‘Stages of Excellence’.


Video Content: Watch it here!


Danielle Levsky (AJT Member in Chicago) - Grimm Without Grimm Productions (Levsky's new production company) is doing a live web table read of their newly devised physical theatre play The Outlaws of Bremen.


Live Streaming: Saturday 6/6 at 7:30pm - 9pm (CST). More info here!

Levsky's also been creating clown videos as her Soviet Jewish grandma clown character Baba Yana as she shares tips and tricks on staying healthy and pretty during the quarantine.


Video Content: Watch it here!


Wendy Kout (AJT Member in Los Angeles) - Courage Takes the Stage, is a chronological inspiring-quote journey through humanity's crises... and survival... including the Holocaust. Written by playwrights Wendy Kout and Michele Willens and produced by Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles, the diverse and sheltered-in-place cast of actors and community leaders and members remind us we did rise and will rise. The presentation is 15 minutes followed by a talk back with the creative team.

Video Content: Watch it here!

Make a Connection with the AJT: Honoring Doug Brook (Our May 2020 Featured Member)

  • Name: Doug Brook
  • Website: brookwrite.com
  • Current City: San José, California
  • Primary Artistic Role: Writer/Director/Actor
  • AJT Member Since: 2009
  • AJT Affiliations: AJT VP, Webmaster 2012-2019; Co-Founder, Artistic Director, Theatre Chevruta (2013-2017)
  • Theatre Affiliations: Silicon Valley Shakespeare, Executive Director (2015-present)


What was the last piece of theatre you did?

While working on a graduate degree online from the Jewish Theological Seminary (commencement is this week!), I've limited myself to one artistic role per year. Most recently, I directed a production of "Big River," the Huckleberry Finn musical. Not overtly Jewish beyond jokes I'd make in rehearsal, but the theme of rising above perceived differences among people is universal and as relevant now as ever.

What are you creating in this current crisis?

The Shakespeare company I executive direct is rapidly developing and providing weekly offerings online, under an umbrella of Shakespearean Saturdays. We're ranging from interactive trivia nights and an online version of our popular "a pub, a pint, and a play" ShakesBEERience SJ (which is now BYOB), to watch parties of past productions (Shakespeare, non-union, no rights issues!) including artists from those productions, and various other performances and events. I direct the company business and am not as involved in the art, so personally I'm delving into more playwriting including a few more titles in my series of biblical satires, which already includes "Lot in Life," "Original Synergy," "The Big Fish Story," and others. Some of these – new and old – might be offered in online readings or performances as time progresses. Perhaps I'll resurrect the effort to get the rights to do my stage musical adaptation of "The Frisco Kid."

What do you hope for the future of theatre?

Theatre will never be the same again. That's not a hope, but an observation. It's also not a bad thing. So many of us are devising creative alternatives for creating and sharing art during this challenged time. Some of those alternatives will become new norms. Also, of necessity, we're rapidly reshaping the business aspects of theatre. Once in-person performance re-emerges, I hope that we'll find the best from what we're doing now so we can expand and evolve what we do, rather than merely try to recapture the past. Online innovations could lead to onstage innovations, and vice versa. The history of theatre is replete with evolutions, and perhaps a few revolutions. Tomorrow should be no exception. I hope we not only persevere until tomorrow arrives, but turn it into whatever opportunities we can.

How has your Jewishness been part of your theatre work previously and now during this pandemic?

Jewishness is always an undercurrent. During Theatre Chevruta's four-year run, we strove to entertain but also to provide more layers for people who wanted them. We used a format that let us produce more obscure or forgotten works without exorbitant financial burdens so audiences could see things they don't often get to. The name Chevruta reflected the two-way street, the partnership of performance and audience. Alongside my day job in high tech and my theatre indulgences, I've taught in synagogues or JCCs on the side since college – my latest grad degree is in Jewish Education – which fuels a primary motivation of mine in theatre. When I direct, write, or act, I try to foster these layers being available for those who want them – to put something in front of them they might not have known, and to encourage their curiosity to explore more.

What gives you sustenance at this time?

DoorDash. And envisioning the dawn of a new day that will soon come.

Alliance for Jewish Theatre

AJT's mission is to develop, innovate, promote, and preserve theatre with a Jewish sensibility. AJT is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization made up of theatre-artists, theatres, and other people connected to theatre to promote the creation, presentation, and preservation of both traditional and non-traditional theatrical endeavors by, for, and about the Jewish experience.