Andy's Summer Playhouse to debut ‘String Theory’

  • Eight young artists will perform in Andy’s Summer Playhouse’s production of ‘String Theory’ this weekend. Courtesy photo

Published: 12/16/2020 5:29:54 PM

Andy’s Summer Playhouse and The Digital Renaissance Project is pleased to announce, in collaboration with Orange Grove Dance, an original online production entitled “String Theory.”

Since Zoom rehearsals began on Nov. 30, co-directors Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves have been working with an ensemble of eight young artists from New Hampshire and five adult artists from the Orange Grove Dance ensemble to bring this show to life.

Though it’s all happening on Zoom, it will be unlike anything you’ve seen on Zoom before! Krogol and Reeves were last at Andy’s in 2018, when they adapted Shaun Tan’s wordless story, “The Arrival,” into a production that spanned multiple locations on Andy’s hilltop in Wilton.

They were joined by lighting designer Peter Leibold and composer Dylan Glatthorn. That year, “The Arrival” won Best Lighting Design (Leibold), Best Sound Design (Glatthorn) and Best Youth Production from the NH Theater Alliance. This creative team has been brought together again for “String Theory,” though it looks a little different this year. Glatthorn has been sending his compositions to the ensemble from his apartment in New York, while Leibold has been doing lighting design over Zoom rehearsals, giving the artists advice about how to use the lights in their spaces in order to achieve the aesthetic for each scene.

“String Theory” is a controversial, misunderstood story about the nature of everything. It was born out of the time of isolation that we all find ourselves in. The show allows audience members to be curious about their own surroundings. It is an exploration of the unknown and the intangible. As with the actual string theory, the show attempts to connect everything in our universe through the medium of Zoom, embracing the glitches, the freezes and the internet outages. As co-directors Reeves and Krogol reflect, “There’s something about going into people’s intimate and private spaces that’s really interesting. You’re in someone’s bedroom, another person’s living room. It’s something we’ve noticed all year as we’ve been working on Zoom. Now we’re sharing our homes with each other; it makes people closer in a different way, as we have to share parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t normally share.”

Part of the Orange Grove Dance process is considering the artists in the room (or, this time around, the Zoom Room) and the memories and stories that they bring into the space. At the beginning of the rehearsal process, Krogol and Reeves asked the young artists to write responses to prompts such as, “Recall a time that you felt isolated,” “Recall a time that you felt connected” and “Write a letter to someone you admire.” While you won’t hear these moments in their entirety in the show, this language does show up in fragmented pieces. Krogol, who is also one of the performers in the piece, notes, “The 13 performers are deeply embedded in this world. It’s been really uplifting here at the end of the year to embrace the obstacles and see what we can do together.”

Tickets for this online production can be purchased for $19.71 each on the Andy’s website, at https://www.andyssummerplayhouse.org/string-theory-tickets. The ticket, priced in honor of the year of Andy’s founding by teachers Bill Williams and Peg Sawyer, provides you and everyone in your household with a link to watch the live performance of String Theory.

This project is supported by the Empower Youth Grant through the NH Department of Health and Human Services.

Performances will be held Dec. 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 1971 in Mason, and relocated to Wilton in the 1980’s, Andy’s Kids come from all surrounding communities, including Antrim, Amherst, Bennington, Brookline, Dublin, Francestown, Greenfield, Hollis, Jaffrey, Lyndeborough, Mason, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Peterborough, Temple, Wilton, and beyond. This summer, in light of the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Digital Renaissance Project was born. This entirely online platform served to connect 62 young artists from all across the world with 91 international adult artists. Over 14 weeks this summer, Andy’s hosted 322 projects in areas ranging from sewing to dance to meditation to voice technique to livestream performances. For more, visit https://www.andyssummerplayhouse.org.


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