Quote of the Day: I don’t feed off the energy of the audience, I use it. Vie Boheme, creator of Centerplay, an excerpt is streaming through the Jungle Theater through January 17, 2021. 

I got the link earlier in the week for this audio play, but wanted to engage with it when I wasn’t tired or distracted. Later Friday afternoon, I found that time. I’d had a full week of piano lessons, mostly online, planning and shopping for the holidays, and other daily stuff. So, around 4:30 on Friday, I made myself a cup of tea, settled into the good spot on the couch with a blanket and Leo the cat on my lap. I didn’t try to knit or bake bread or sort anything. I turned on the link, and there was Vie telling me to do exactly what I was doing! “Grab a blanket,” she said, “And, a cup of tea, or wine. Relax, sit back and just listen.” So, I did. I even closed my eyes for most of it and just let myself imagine and visualize what was happening in the scenes that she created. The story, sound, poetry and music were beautiful, heartfelt, and thought-provoking. For those 30 minutes, I was able to see it in my own imaginings. 

Vie Boheme, creator of Centerplay, streaming from the Jungle Theater.

Afterwards, I listened to the interview between Vie Boheme and Jungle Theater interim Artistic Director Christina Baldwin. Vie says in the interview that the Centerplay that we heard was an excerpt of a longer work meant for the stage. In fact, she wanted to create an immersive experience where the audience was closer to her (not distanced as on a proscenium stage) and would interact. She said that a Midwestern audience can be challenging when it comes to audience feedback. We are all polite, quiet and respectful, which is nice, but she likes more give and take from her audience. She wanted to include as much sensory experience as she could, even include scent, if possible, and to ask the audience to close their eyes at certain parts. Like I did. I could hear the voices, imagine the phone calls, the expression that the characters might have, and picture a living room or bedroom, a person’s personal space and other times, a more public space. She tells the story of Black women artists, their challenges, expectations, and need to do their art in their own way, not in one that is a stereotype or from someone else’s expectations.

You can listen to Centerplay, and Mondo Tragic, through January 17, 2021, and I’ll be Seeing You Again (starting Jan. 6) by Jacoby Johnson streaming through the Jungle Theater. They are also streaming the virtual performance of Is Edward Snowden Single? through Dec. 20, 2020. So many wonderful offerings from the Jungle, and from many sources. Keep connected to theater and your favorite artists during the pandemic. We’re all eagerly awaiting the time when we can gather, again, and see them in person. Until then, I appreciate the virtual and streaming offerings.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: How are you finding ways to relax during the holidays and stress of this pandemic?