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Andy's Playhouse to bring production to virtual space

  • Matt Reeves and Colette Krogol of Orange Grove Dance give a little glimpse into what ‘String Theory’, a new show being produced in conjunction with Andy’s Playhouse, will look like. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/27/2020 10:46:42 AM

Like most arts organizations, Andy’s Summer Playhouse didn’t have a traditional season in 2020, one that would have been its 50th.

The switch to a virtual space over the summer was filled with workshops and creativity inspiring connections, and it laid the groundwork for what will be a big step in continuing that effort in the off season. Thanks to a Empower Youth Grant, Andy’s will put on a three-day virtual performance of “String Theory” Dec. 18-20, directed and choreographed by Orange Grove Dance out of Baltimore, who directed Andy’s award-winning production of “The Arrival.”

“String Theory”, described as “a controversial misunderstood story about the nature of everything”, is a live, digitally interactive performance in collaboration with the children of Andy’s that incorporates their lived-in spaces and lived experiences. The production, which will be performed on Zoom, will use movement and cinema to create an innovative experience for the community. While the production is still in its beginning stages of development, those interested, ages 8 to 18, can attend the open session on Monday, Nov. 30 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to learn more.

“It’s very open-ended right now, but will get very specific once we start working,” said Jared Mezzocchi, Andy’s producing artistic director.

The basis of the show is connectivity, using the stories – past, present and future – of the people involved. If the work over the summer taught Mezzocchi anything, it was how crucial listening is during this time of separation.

“How can we connect on a physical and emotional level?” Mezzocchi said.

What is clear about the upcoming production of “String Theory” is that there will be quite a bit of yarn. Participants will use the yarn to enhance and define their space at home and will act as a connector among the various Zoom performance venues.

“Orange Grove will work with the whole team to bring it to life,” Mezzocchi said.

Thanks to a summer filled with Zoom, Mezzocchi and the Orange Grove team were involved with a number of virtual performances and have a good grasp of what it should look like.

“It will definitely be a live thing, where the audience is placed in the question,” Mezzocchi said.

For those interested, don’t get too caught up in the dance part of Orange Grove. There will be movement involved, but the focus is on the theater aspect. Mezzocchi urges anyone with an inclination to check out the open session.

“It’s really just to show up, experience it and if you have a smile on your face at the end, continue with it,” he said.

While everything will be online, Mezzocchi said it won’t be “your typical Zoom meeting.”

He said they are looking for anywhere from 10 to 20 participants who are ready to share and listen and be open to trying something new.

“As a kid, Andy’s always told me to bring my tools to the table and be ready to use them in a different way,” Mezzocchi said.

Rehearsals will be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m.

The Empower Youth Grant also gave Andy’s the ability to offer downloadable workshops each day in December with artists from well beyond New Hampshire. The workshops are $5 each and will be continue to be available after the day they are released.

For more information, visit https://www.andyssummerplayhouse.org/.


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