Besides those well-spent hours binging the "Tiger King" and "Too Hot to Handle," too much time spent couch-surfing Netflix and Amazon Prime can leave a visual-arts consumer feeling empty.
Enter the Old Globe -- and a handful of other prestigious theaters around the country -- to rescue San Diego's gray matter. The Old Globe and its three theatres have been stepping stones for many a Tony-award winner. The 85-year-old venue is a crucible for Broadway success, giving birth to everything from "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder" to "Bright Star" to "The Full Monty" to "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and, of course, every San Diegan's favorite, "Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
More recently, the Old Globe and its brethren around the country have come together to present the Play at Home project, "a series of short plays commissioned specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation."
Theatre royalty -- including Nathan Englander (Globe’s "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank"), Selina Fillinger (Globe’s "Faceless"), Jose Cruz González (Globe’s "American Mariachi"); Gordon Greenberg (Globe’s "Heart of Rock & Roll"), Anna Ziegler (Globe’s "The Wanderers and many others) -- have been furiously drafting scripts, many of which can be downloaded for free.
“Play at Home is an idea that’s brilliant in its simplicity: You go to the website, download a play and read it aloud." said the Old Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director, Barry Edelsteinl. "You make theatre in your own home, on your own terms…. I promise that you’ll find invention, diversion, and most of all a celebratory sense of release in these works.”
Dozens of the family friendly plays are available now for free at www.playathome.org. These plays are "joyful, meant to exist in your imagination beyond the usual limits of what might be possible onstage," according to a news release from the Old Globe. So read them yourself, or enlist family and Zoom friends to take over the roles -- and don't be afraid to document your thespian ways. Fans are urged to use the tag #PlayAtHome when posting to social media.
Like artists everywhere, staff members of the Old Globe were confronted by the loss of their performance schedule for the foreseeable future, and like artists everywhere, they rallied in defiance of the pandemic. And to the Old Globe staff and all the theatre lovers taking part in Play at Home, we say, "Bravo!"