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Performing the third episode of “SOLOs” are: top from left, Stewart McDermet, Annie Landenberger, and Thomas Ely, and bottom from left, Landenberger and T. Breeze Verdant, Dan Lloyd, and John Moran.

The Arts

Six area performers perform in SOLOs

Rock River Players, Hooker-Dunham theater stream program of public domain and original works, with discussion to follow

To request links to the YouTube video and to the discussion, write info@hookerdunham.com or info@rockriverplayers.org. Both the Jan. 15 premiere and the talk-back following are free, and the sharing of links is encouraged.

BRATTLEBORO—SOLOs Episode 3 — a video montage of monologue and song by six area performers filmed by Brattleboro Community Television — premieres simultaneously on BCTV and on YouTube Friday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The free opening showing is capped with an online session at 8:15 p.m., where audience members can chat with cast, directors, producers, and technical staff.

Each episode of SOLOs is a co-production of the Rock River Players (RRP) and the Hooker-Dunham Theater, filmed on the stage of the theater in Brattleboro.

RRP’s Bahman Mahdavi produced Episode 3, the third in a series of programs of exclusively public domain and original works.

The series was conceived and launched by Mahdavi and Hooker-Dunham Director Jon Mack.

SOLOs Episode 3 features Stewart McDermet in four excerpts from Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 Spoon River Anthology, described in a news release as “a collection of reflections and reminiscences from Spoon River’s deceased [which] offers a slice of small-town life that’s poignant, witty, innocent, and wise.”

Annie Landenberger and Thomas Ely have excerpted from Mark Twain’s diaries of Adam and Eve. Each discovers and surreptitiously digests the other’s entries which, to quote Twain, “were translated from the original hieroglyphics by [himself].”

T. Breeze Verdant performs “Legacy (Grandfather, Father, Son).” His lyrics offer testimony to the lasting effects of alcohol and war on men with their manifest demons of isolation, dark thoughts, and shame. The song also witnesses the healing power of opening up and letting others bear the burden alongside oneself.

Dan Lloyd, Shakespeare buff and academic, performs the “Is this a dagger I see before me...” soliloquy from Macbeth. Lloyd brings us inside Macbeth’s fevered mind as he creeps toward regicide.

Finally, John Moran will perform Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In the present, Lincoln looks to the past, to his presidency, and to the war he prosecuted, despite the cost, to preserve the Union — and to Gettysburg, at time of mourning and hope for the future of a reborn America.

The next episode in the series premieres in February and will feature local filmmaker, philosopher, and circus performer Bill Forchion in his original piece, “Spirit Dance, a Conversation with the Ancestors.”

Later in February, SOLOs will present an original tenor saxophone performance by recording artist and frequent Yellow Barn contributor Travis Laplante.

Two more episodes of sets of monologues will air in March. One consists entirely of original works, while the other “features performers stretching the artificial boundaries of gender roles,” Mahdavi and Mack write.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #595 (Wednesday, January 13, 2021). This story appeared on page A6.

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