BY KATIE SCOVILLE
Pen City Current
FORT MADISON – Lights! Camera! Closing? Because of COVID-19, the theatre world has taken a hit all across the country, and with the need for social distancing, smaller theatres with limited seating options have been unable to operate.
Fort Madison’s own community theatre has felt such effects. Having to canceling their spring show, Old Fort Players of Fort Madison has been dormant since the beginning of the outbreak until now.
A spark of hope has ignited through the members of Old Fort Players. The idea to perform short skits and stream them live came from brainstorming on online Zoom meetings.
Dorothy Schulte, a member of OFP, said, “We’ve been trying to think of a way to remind people that there’s still a theatre in town.”
OFP wanted to formulate an idea that abided by COVID-19 guidelines and made social distance rehearsing possible. Thus, performing skits with live streaming was introduced.
OFP plans to recreate skits from The Carol Burnett Show after buying rights from Pioneer Drama. The public will be able to stream skits live through Facebook Live. Although they will be free, there will be a donation button accompanying the video.
For the live shows, live acting and pre-recorded segments will be combined to allow for set and costume changes. OFP hopes to even incorporate a small audience-for natural reactions and laughs- of about 20, chosen by first come first serve ticket sales. The audience will be assigned seats that are at least 6 ft. apart to ensure social distancing. Eventually, OFP hopes to release pre-recorded skits that people can purchase access to on Zoom.
Another matter of concern is the audition process itself.
“Everyone involved in the audition process will be required to wear a mask except the person on stage,” Schulte said.
There will be a limit to how many people can be in the theatre during the process.
“What’s great about these auditions is no matter if you’re a beginner in the theatre world or if you haven’t been active in ages you can still audition. Since the skits are short, there’s not a lot of lines to memorize,” Schulte said.
OFP plans to hold auditions for the upcoming skits on July 19th and 20th at 6 p.m. Call backs will be held on July 23rd. Directors are looking for a adult actors of various ages, both male and female.
Currently, OFP is just trying to remain positive and work with the current situation.
“We’re trying to keep our spirits up. Business has been tough because of the current climate. We’re trying to get back to where we were while considering the constraints of the virus,” Schulte said.