Despite COVID-19 the show must (virtually) go on

actors warehouse
actors warehouse

Editor’s Note

Mainstreet Daily News, in a collaboration with Noel Leroux, founder of Gainesville Downtown, is spotlighting downtown businesses to learn how each one is coping with the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. 

The Actors’ Warehouse wants you to know that although live theater is on hiatus at least until summer, you can still enjoy community theater from the comfort and safety of your home. Through April 30th, check out The Ghosts on the Wall – Online Production from AW.

For $10, your household can view an online video of the play, which was produced by Actors’ Warehouse earlier this season. The play, written by Christopher Maly and directed by Chuck Lipsig, follows older couple Curt and Regina Schonwald as they write letters from inside Nazi Germany during World War II to their son in the U.S.

For further information on how to order and view the video, click on the link above. (There is an overview of the play at gainesvilledowntown.com.)

Steven Butler, artistic director of the AW, said the theater is offering “The Ghosts on the Wall” online for two reasons. “No. 1, it’s a way for us to let our audience know that we are still here and, No. 2, to give our audience an opportunity to continue to support us,” he said.

Butler said support from the community is critical to keep Actors’ Warehouse and other theaters – amateur and professional – viable.

“It’s a very unstable time for all theaters; it’s very scary,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty.” To do its best to stay on top of things, the AW has two other programs on the horizon.

One is called “What Up GNV,” a series of free, live videos uploaded from actorswarehouse.org featuring four Gainesville area organizations that have worked with the theater. They include Gainesville Alliance for Equitable DevelopmentAlachua NAACPJCNCF (Jewish Council of North Central Florida) and The Real Rosewood Foundation Inc.

“I want for us to reconnect with various collaborations and put the spotlight on them,” Butler said.

Also, Actors’ Warehouse is in rehearsals for a one-act comedy titled “Nature of the Beast” that follows the witty banter between four women in a doctor’s office waiting room. “How we’re going to spin it is challenging the male narrative,” said Butler, who said the play addresses such issues as osteoporosis, menopause, fibromyalgia and alcoholism.

Directed by Kathy Byrne, the play will star Claudia Senesac, Mandy Fugate, Lynda Harris and Lisa Varvel — all delivering lines from their respective homes!

“The challenge is working through that disconnect and still being able to entertain the audience,” Butler said. “This is the result of us trying to continue to create art in the midst of what we’re all going through.”

He said the edited video should be available around April 30 and be offered for $10. Actors’ Warehouse has already had to cancel the final weekend of “Ann” and full productions of “Skeleton Crew,” “The Revolutionists” and “Actually.”

The next scheduled live production is “Antony and Cleopatra (Abridged),” opening July 10. If you would like to contribute to Actors’ Warehouse, visit https://www.actorswarehouse.org/giving.

About the Author

Noel Leroux is the publisher of gainesvilledowntown.com, a website dedicated to covering all things downtown. His mission is to inform, entertain and engage readers with compelling articles about arts, entertainment, and the foodie scene in Gainesville.

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