This summer, Acme Theatre Company has reinvented itself as an all-online theater company.
Using a Zoom livestream, the youth-led group will produce five online plays over four weeks in July and early August as a series of experiments in what electronic theater can be.
The plays vary widely in genre — beginning with Patricia Loughrey’s “Dear Harvey,” a documentary-style piece reflecting on LGBT activist and politician Harvey Milk, and culminating with Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses,” a contemporary retelling of Greek myths about love and transformation.
“Our goal was to choose scripts that rely on text-based story-telling, rather than movement or physical settings,” said Emily Henderson, Acme’s artistic director.
A different play will be offered for free at 7 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, July 18. Each week, audience members will be invited to support Acme as well as a different local, nonprofit partner.
Since 1980, Acme has produced a large-cast play each summer and offered a role to every student who auditions. However, the limitations of a Zoom meeting led Acme to pursue a new structure of smaller, weekly productions to allow each group of actors to work more closely with each other. This structure also will allow actors to play widely different roles each week.
“It’s definitely a different kind of acting challenge,” said Acme junior Morgan Hendrix-Chupa.
During the summer, Acme usually focuses on expanding the company’s technical theater skills — but technical theater will look different this summer.
“We are doing a lot of experimenting,” Henderson said. “Can candles illuminate actors faces? What about shadow puppets? Can everyone perform this scene in their bathtub? Can we make a giant dragon puppet with different body parts appearing in different Zoom screens?”
In addition, Acme is offering free workshops for youths.
Thespians ages 11-13 are invited to come work with Acme actors on scenes from “This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl does nothing” — a feisty coming of age adventure by Finegan Kurckmeyer, from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 14.
Younger thespians, ages 7-11, are invited to go “back-stage” with Acme actors and get a sneak peek of “The Boy Who Cried Dragon” from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 16.
To register for workshops or to register to attend the weekly productions, visit www.acmetheatre.net.
“Dear Harvey” by Patricia Loughrey is 7 p.m. Saturday, July 11. This is a documentary-style ensemble play recounting the life and lasting impact of groundbreaking LGBT activist and politician Harvey Milk, recounted through interviews with those who knew him best.
“The Boy Who Cried Dragon” by Inda Craig-Galván is 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18. A modern adaptation of the “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” this is a humorous story of a boy and his dragon.
“This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing” by Finegan Kruckmeyer is 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18. This is a feisty coming-of-age story of three sisters abandoned in the woods and their adventurous journey to adulthood.
“The K of D” by Laura Schellhardt is 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25. A pack of teenagers wrestle with the loss of their friend in this summer ghost story about a lonely girl with a lethal skill.
“Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman is 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. Dreams and reality collide with gods and mortals in Zimmerman’s ode to the power of love — and the shadows that lurk beneath it. Join Acme for Ovid’s classical tales of passion, betrayal, hope and transformation.
Acme Theatre Company is an independent, self-sustaining community theater group for high-school-aged artists. Its mission is to present plays of high literary quality while providing opportunities for young people to learn various acting and technical skills in an organization run entirely by young people themselves under the direction of a small cadre of adult mentors.
For more information, visit www.acmetheatre.net, contact the publicity director Morgan Hendrix-Chupa or find Acme’s latest posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.ShareTweet