In March 2020, as other theaters had to make the decision to shut down their productions due to the pandemic, the Carousel Theater was hoping to complete the second weekend of its “Eurydice” series. Fortunately, they were able to finish the race before the rules regarding gatherings started to change. When it became clear that theaters weren’t opening soon, they started to think about how they could still produce projects, even if they didn’t have a live audience. So far, the public has seen two virtual cabarets, but Carousel was also running a one-off program for them throughout the pandemic. This program was the Carousel Theater Play-write project.
A few years ago, they had brought in the Missoula Children’s Theater to provide a weeklong camp for children from Indianola and surrounding communities. What was unique was that it was an educational opportunity for adults, and it was going to be a multi-month commitment as well. Five artists decided to try their luck in this endeavor.
They met twice a month on zoom with host David Dubczak. Five pieces in one act emerged from this workshop.
Part of the original goal was to showcase the projects as part of their 2021-2022 season. They didn’t know the impact Covid would have on their season, forcing all of their shows to be postponed for a year. After two zoom meetings held in February, which I had the pleasure of participating in, a dilemma arose at Carousel. They wanted to honor their commitment to include the shows as part of their 2021/2022 season, but they were faced with the question of where in the season he would have time to stage and rehearse all five shows. So, just like Carousel did at the start of the pandemic, they went back to the drawing board to find a new solution. This involved staging the five shows and then filming the performances of the online stream.
When the opportunity arose to stage these plays, I was delighted to participate as the co-director of these shows. What made me even more excited about it was that I would have the opportunity to work with Mickie Larche, the other co-director, who was one of my directors in college. One of the benefits of my involvement with Carousel is that it has continually given me the opportunity to work with Mickie on stage and behind the scenes. I knew with Mickie, a director I had a lot of respect for, that this would be an incredible opportunity.
As we were going to film these pieces, we decided to organize the rehearsals in person. We knew it would be easy to manage who was in the building that we would use to rehearse and film with the actors’ small stature. Where it would be more difficult to manage the number of people going to be at the auditions. So we decided to organize online auditions. This means setting up a schedule for those who audition to register and setting up a zoom meeting that people could use for their auditions. The auditions went relatively well, and having scheduled auditions is something I will consider in the future when I do auditions.
As we headed towards the first readings of each of the five pieces and rehearsals, I found myself loving the progress each show made. This is due to the incredible work that each artist was doing outside of rehearsals. What I liked were the discoveries we were able to make about these characters at each rehearsal. Some of my favorite discoveries were made when the cast members opened up and told stories about how they could relate to the play. This has happened a number of times and has taken the pieces to unexpected new heights, providing an even better viewing experience.
Hopefully reading this makes you wonder when and how you can see these shows. The shows will begin weekly on July 9 at 7:00 p.m. and can be found on the Carousel Theater of Indianola Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theatrecarousel/ and the YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/ channel / UCJg92wZJt113g8_j9TyIoLQ. The show program is available below. Although these are offered free of charge, donations are recommended. These donations will be used to offset the directing and filming costs and to prepare the shows scheduled to open for the 2021/2022 season. To learn more about the Carousel Theater of Indianola, visit https://carouseltheater.org.
Carousel Theater Play-Write Project
July 9, 2021 – “Game Night” by Karin Hooper
July 16, 2021- “A Powerful Placebo” by Joan Boskovich
July 23, 2021 – “Long Time, No See” by Michael Stout Martin
July 30, 2021 – “A prayer for the lost” and found by John Claes
August 6, 2021 – “Last Call” by Randy Stone
Carousel Theater 2021/2022 Season
“[Title of Show]”-12-22 August 2021
“And then there was none” – October 22-31, 2021
“Beside normal” – March 18-27, 2022
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Contest” – July 14-24, 2022