INTRODUCTION

 

Throughout 2020 and well into 2021, the theater, music, and entertainment industry lost its venues due to the Pandemic.


Performers and performing organizations searched for alternative “places” to perform while waiting for the “real places” to reopen. One of the most significant developments during that period was on-line collaboration.

 

During the period of social distancing, creative theater-folk established on-line companies experimenting with a whole new performance context, sometimes called “virtual theater,” and more commonly, “Zoom Theater,” because the ZOOM platform is so ubiquitous. I make a difference between “virtual theater” and “zoom theater.” Zoom theater is just what it says it is: performances using the ZOOM platform. “Virtual theater” would include Zoom but might use any of several on-line collaboration platforms.
 

In the beginning of the lockdowns 2020, most folks assumed that on-line theater was just something to do while waiting for in-person theaters to open up. “Virtual” theater was just a substitute for “real” theater.  An interesting thing has occurred. More and more producers are seeing Virtual or Zoom Theater, not as a substitute for theater, but as an emerging context for live theater opening up a whole range of artistic possibilities.
 

Imagine the following stage directions being accomplished in traditional theater:

 

Scene I: Jane’s bedroom. Jane enters the room and turns to face the audience.
Suddenly, all the furniture in the room disappears. Then, the walls fly off, the ceiling goes up,
and the floors go down. Jane is in utter blackness when she suddenly sprouts wings and flies away.

 

So, who wants to stage that live! But, guess what, it’s quite do-able on Zoom! Granted, there are “pros and cons.” The goal, in my view, is to expand on the “pros” and mitigate the “cons.”

 

Zoom Theater has opened up amazing possibilities for artists across the globe to work together. Zoom Theater reaches out to new demographics that traditional theaters do not serve; people who either do not go to the theater as a life-style choice, or cannot go to the theater due to economic, geographical, or physical constraints. Anybody with a computer and an internet connection can “go to” virtual theater without even leaving their home. Zoom Theater production can generate revenue from ticket sales or donations (participants share profits). And, Zoom Theater can be produced for a fraction of the cost of traditional theater.

 

 

And so, with all the above in mind, we are mounting a professional Zoom Theater production of Extraordinary Hero and we are assembling a professional company to do it.

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