With live theater for many theaters worldwide in the aftermath of COVID-19, theater performers, true to life, are creatively engaged in new and exciting ways to present theater. Zoom readings and streaming performances are perhaps the most common, but some enterprising performers go to great lengths to provide their audience with a unique live and participatory experience by providing material to interactive home theater ticket buyers.
Here are six online theater productions you can participate in from home:
Macbeth: A Surround Sound Experiment
Shakespeare’s classic play has been reimagined as an immersive auditory experience in this new “3D audio” event, featuring an immersive soundscape by Will Padilla. Directed and edited by Joseph Discher, this Macbeth is designed to be listened to in the dark on headphones with a candle and a special cocktail. Recipe is included in the ticket! The cast includes Tamara Tunie (You better call Saul), Laila Robins (The boys), Derek Wilson (Future husband), Joel de la Fuente (The Man in High Castle Robert Cuccioli (Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde), Geoffrey Owens (The Haves and the Have Nots), Jacob Cogman, Sean Hudock, Rocío Mendez, Tim Nicolai, Mandy Olsen, Shane Taylor, Patrick Toon and Jeorge Bennett Watson. Tickets for the October 30 – November 1 performances benefiting The Actors Fund are available at KnockAtTheGate.comPremium bundles include a candle and Bloody Mary mix that will be shipped to your home for you to enjoy during the performance.
In the kitchen
This piece is not only not in a theater, it is also not in your living room! In the kitchen invites audiences to go to their own kitchens and cook with creator Hannah Goldman as she tells stories of Arab Jewish culture, feminism and culinary heritage. Tickets include the audio game (which can be heard on request), along with an ingredient box and a recipe for Ba’aba Beh Tamur, a delicious Iraqi biscuit that spectators make while listening to the play. In the kitchen is in the latest renewal and the last boxes should be shipped on November 13th! Tickets are available at ExperimentalBitchPresents.ThunderTix.com
In the box
After the sold-out success of Present, de Geffen is back with yet another unique streaming theatrical experience on Zoom, this time written and performed by New York Times crossword writer David Kwong. The show focuses on puzzle makers throughout history, which Kwong has interwoven with interactive puns, layered games, and other surprises. Instead of snail mail, In the box turns to email for its special package of items; cardholders will receive a PDF package by email containing materials to print a week before their performance. In the box is currently running and is sold out through January 3rd, but you can sign up to be notified when additional showtimes are added or check for returned tickets on GeffenPlayhouse.org
If you can’t wait for interactive theater, try this whodunit from de Geffen. Written and directed by Chelsea Marcantel, consider this a murder mystery party without leaving home. Twenty-four households, each with one detective, work together to solve the crime. Led by Mickie McKittrick, the best-selling true crime author, you and your fellow detectives will uncover the evidence and follow the clues, changing the course of the show every night, ”the show said. “Sometimes the whole group works together, while sometimes you go to a smaller breakout room for a more intimate examination of evidence and clues. Ultimately, the entire group will make choices to determine the show’s surprising conclusion. Performances November 10 – December 20. Visit GeffenPlayhouse.org
On the heels of the extended sold-out run Present, writer and performer Helder Guimarães returns to the Geffen Stayhouse (as the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles renamed the theme itself during its closing). Guimarães weaves moving and often amusing anecdotes and lessons with his signature mind-blowing illusions. Presented via Zoom, the Geffen sends audience a box of items to be opened nothing but when Guimarães gives instructions during execution. These items allow some of Guimarães ‘illusions to take place in spectators’ own living rooms. Unlike most Zoom performances and similar to live theater, spectators remain visible to each other throughout the show and are regularly called up to interact with Guimarães. There’s something magical about hearing your fellow theatergoers gasp in surprise and applause – that delightful sound we miss so much. Performances December 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021. For more information, visit GeffenPlayhouse.org
Experimental B. are not the only ones cooking. Filmmaker and cookbook author Sri Rao invites us to work with him to prepare a homemade Indian meal for dinner and a show at the Geffen Stayhouse. Rao shares stories about his upbringing, his family’s history of emigration to America, and his love of Bollywood movies. Take part in one of three levels: Chef’s Table (star next to Rao in the show while cooking with him in real time), Bollywood Foodie (prepare your meal during the show by watching Rao but he won’t see you) or Just Here for the Party (no food, sit back and watch). Bollywood Kitchen, directed by Arpita Mukherjee, brings together the dual communal experiences of food and theater. Have the Bollywood Box delivered to your home and buy your ticket today. Performances January 15, 2021 – February 21, 2021. Visit GeffenPlayhouse.org