Letters from Home (copy)

Erinn Dearth and Dan Beckmann, directors of Spring Theatre, are seeking performers for a digital play project. They are seen here in costume for their duet Letters from Home.

As the old song says, “There’s no people like show people.” Some people run for cover when disaster strikes. Show people run for the internet and figure out how to put on a show.

The folks at Spring Theatre, though as daunted as everyone else by the undeniable spread of the coronavirus, have come up with a creative way to get on with its next show.

“It’s something that we feel is needed,” said Dan Beckmann, the theater’s artistic director. “Right now, we’re are probing for interest. We are seeing who wants to be a part of it.

“We have heard from people we don’t even know from as far away as Florida. When we see who we’ve got, we’ll write a script around the people involved, then send them what they need to do it: a script, a shot list, stage directions — and get them to shoot scenes on their phones.”

“It could be songs, too,” said Erinn Dearth, executive director. “If we have a lot of good dancers, we’ll use a lot of dance.”

“When we get all the videos in, we’ll edit them together in one cohesive piece,” Beckmann said.

The youth-oriented theater’s season opener, “Children of Eden,” was to start rehearsals last week. When the decision was made to postpone the show, Dearth and Beckmann felt the need to do something different.

“As a 9-year-old theater company, we have never experienced anything like this,” Dearth said. “Times of extreme change can be exciting for artists, as we are forced to think outside the box.”

On Thursday, the board of directors at Spring Theatre announced the new plan: to open the Spring Theatre season with a digital performance project — a fully-online, socially distanced play built by both the local community and actors, performers, and theater professionals worldwide.

“The whole idea of course is that we live in an age where a lot of young people are socially distanced already,” Beckmann said. “I think the lessons will be that we can learn to live together even though we are apart.”

Dearth and Beckmann said they hope to roll out the production on the dates originally set for “Children of Eden,” April 17-19. They don’t yet know exactly what the premiere will look like, but it will most likely be aired on Facebook or YouTube.

“Forced social distancing because of the coronavirus might allow some people to get back into theater who have been away for awhile,” Dearth said.

People who want to participate should send a formal submission of interest, along with a headshot and audition or performance clip to Dan@SpringTheatre.org by 11:59 p.m. Monday. After that Spring Theatre will coordinate a digital cast meeting.

More information is at www.SpringTheatre.org, facebook/springtheatreorg or 336-528-5343.




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