Theatre East’s new play 'PROCESSING' debuts this week
by Jacob Henry
Feb 19, 2021 | 2104 views | 0 0 comments | 278 278 recommendations | email to a friend | print
'PROCESSING' is a new play performed live via teleconferencing.
'PROCESSING' is a new play performed live via teleconferencing.
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Theatre East in Sunnyside is debuting a new play written and starring high school graduates this week called PROCESSING.

It is about a game of Monopoly that leads to clashing memories and disagreements over the death of a former computer science teacher.

As the tension rises, it becomes a question of whether the four young women starring in the play will even be able to finish the game.

The play will be performed completely live, but all via teleconferencing, using graphics and images to tell the story.

As the character’s lives were upended by the pandemic in the play, so is the format of a live performance, switching from a stage to a computer screen to adhere to health and safety guidelines.

Director Judson Jones said that while the play does not have an audience, there is a still a form of connection through Zoom.

“Theater at its best is always looking for ways to connect,” Judson said. “During these times this is how we are connecting.”

He started presenting scenes over Zoom over the past summer after realizing that he was spending many important moments of his life using the technology.

“Celebrating birthdays remotely, attending memorials remotely, comforting friends and family remotely, it’s all over zoom,” Judson said. “I realized these are scenes. These are what scenes are about. Why can’t we dramatize them? Why can’t we portray them?”

He added that the characters in the play are facing the same problems everyone has come to terms with in dealing with connection during this pandemic.

“We all know what it’s like to be on Zoom,” Judson said. “The characters themselves are on Zoom. These characters are facing the same things.”

There were over a thousand actors who submitted to audition for the play, and Judson said the four actors who are starring in the play had to learn how to explore in this new medium.

“These are wonderful actors,” Judson said. “I applaud their bravery of just jumping in, of how to make this work. We’re figuring things out as we go.”

He added that the live performances have been great, and audience members, while not able to react physically at the theater, have still reached out to sing their praises.

“One audience member said that they felt like they were in this Zoom call,” Judson said.”

Judson made sure to give thanks to the production team, highlighting everyone dealing with lighting to figuring out graphics and setting up the technical efforts that go into making a live show on Zoom work.

Still, the director said he looks forward to Theatre East being able to produce shows in front of a live audience in the future.

“I’m so thankful for the technology, and I look forward to never using it again,” he said.

PROCESSING seeks to humorously and honestly examine how we collectively acknowledge the past to proceed forward.

It was written by Petra Brusiloff and directed by Judson Jones. It stars Lizzy Jarrett, Jasmine McLeish, Marshall Louise and Feyisola Soetan.

PROCESSING is running until February 27, with a suggested donation of $10-$20. For more information and tickets, click here.
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