Series launches with monologues, poetry
Solo performances by local thespians will be showcased in the first episode of “SOLOs,” a joint product of the Rock River Players and the Hooker-Dunham Theater.

Series launches with monologues, poetry

Rock River Players, Hooker-Dunham Theater, and BCTV present the first episode of SOLOs

BRATTLEBORO — SOLOs - a video montage of monologues and poetry by eight local actors filmed by Brattleboro Community Television - premieres simultaneously on BCTV and YouTube on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

The show is coordinated with a participative online session where audience members will have a chance to meet the cast, directors, producers, and technical staff in a virtual after-party at 8:15 p.m.

Each episode of SOLOs is a co-production of the Rock River Players and the Hooker-Dunham Theater, filmed on the stage of the theater at 139 Main St.

Bahman Mahdavi of the Rock River Players coordinated this first episode of the series. Mahdavi and the RRP were in the midst of working with nearly two dozen performers to create a production of The Front Page when the pandemic hit.

With in-person performance not a viable option, Mahdavi became excited by the idea of developing solo shows that could be safely filmed and made widely available through BCTV and online.

Annie Landenberger, founder of the Rock River Players, stresses the importance of creativity in the face of the pandemic:

“The Rock River Players are all about keeping the lively arts alive in the valley and yet, here we are, stymied by a COVID reality,” she said in a news release. “Kudos to Bahman for facing that reality and keeping theater alive for us, albeit virtually.”

Moreover, Landenberger continued, Mahdavi, Hooker-Dunham Theater Director Jon Mack, and BCTV personnel “have created a model that can endure as long as it needs to - until the dark cloud lifts, until we can applaud theater together again en masse.”

“Even though the performances are by single individuals, the aim of SOLOs is to bring actors, directors, and writers together with their audience,” says Mack.

“The performing arts are all about the connection between artist and audience. The Hooker-Dunham is delighted to be hosting and co-producing an event which makes that connection while keeping safe. By collaborating with the Rock River Players, we can forge ahead to create exciting work.”

The after-party assembles the audience, the cast, and everyone else associated with creating this first episode of SOLOs. The show is free, and everyone's encouraged to share the links to the performance.

This first show comprises seven monologues and one poem. John Ogorzalek performs Edgar Allan Poe's “Annabel Lee”; Dan Lloyd enacts a Shakespeare monologue on the plight of immigrants; Cameron Cobane takes on William Shakespeare's “Now is the winter of our discontent” from Richard III; and Landenberger performs a piece drawn from Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

Tom Ely performs the Inquisitor's monologue from George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan. Comic relief is provided by Jonathan Kinnersley performing a monologue of a cat's view of its human companion, and Rose Watson performs Always Ridiculous by José Echegaray. Tino Benson will perform an original piece, The Meaning of Life.

Other shows are in the pipeline. The next episode includes more Shakespeare performed by Michael Kennedy and Adrienne Major, T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and a reprise of a portion of a recent original play, Charles Henry's Final Curtain, performed by Ron Bos-Lun.

Mahdavi has already begun working up a show consisting entirely oforiginal work, and a one-person show by Bill Forchion is also in development.

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