- By Emily Small –
Of all the arts, performance has arguably been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington Island’s Island Players are no different. With large gatherings discouraged, the Players, like many theater organizations, canceled their 2020 in-person season and turned to virtual performances.
The troupe staged a table reading of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 22 via the Zoom platform.
According to Rylee Johnson, the Player’s newly minted managing director, at least 37 devices other than cast’s were logged on to view the performance, with at least a couple of people likely viewing from each device, giving the production a healthy audience.
The convenience of a virtual performance has benefits, especially in being able to cast actors who are physically far away. For instance, Ben Shutz, who played Scrooge, lives in Hungary.
Johnson said she was happy with how the performance “really invigorated people, the way it came together so quickly especially for the actors” and she is optimistic the Players will put on similar productions this winter.
Johnson described her position as one primarily of fostering collaboration. She said she is responsible for organizing and producing projects for the Players, bringing together cast and crew, and she is looking forward to setting up workshops to bring artists and ideas together as well.
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