GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – In 1955, sci-fi maestro Ray Bradbury perhaps imagined how his radio play “Kaleidoscope” could be performed in 2021… but more likely not.
Green Bay Community Theater presented the 25-minute play live as part of its “Off-Stage Season” Thursday night via Zoom.
Interestingly, the format has some advantages over live, in-person theater.
In the story, astronauts aboard Apollo 90 are nine days and 3 million miles out from Earth when a meteor hits their spaceship and they are flung in different directions at 10,000 miles an hour.
That’s kind of hard to re-create live, on stage at Robert Lee Brault Playhouse.
By Zoom, with some visual Chroma-key type tech stuff, the seven astronauts can be seen first in different parts of the spaceship and then in starry, starry space without totally stretching the audience’s imagination as in a radio play.
Such a setup aside, “Kaleidoscope” is a Ray Bradbury head game. How do individuals handle their obviously impending doom?
Each member of the cast gets a chance to develop a character’s personality and take it to The End. Thursday night, the challenges were nicely met by experienced performers.
Afterward, the cast, director Warren Elliott and production facilitator Patricia Grimm talked about the experience, and that provided insights, too. Of note, “Green Bay Community Theater” took on a different definition. All of the participants did their thing from home, but two of the players performed from afar – one from Los Angeles and one from New York. (They have family connections to Elliott and Grimm).
One point of discussion was how Zoom allowed the production to develop of the feeling of alone. The astronauts are zooming in different directions with no way home. That’s alone.
Mentioned in the discussion was how humans deal with technology so alone fits this COVID-19 pandemic-enclosed time.
Also discussed was how virtual theater is an opportunity for Green Bay Community Theater to try new things.
So… a little play… an exploring talkback… big ideas… new stuff = worthwhile theater.
Creative: Playwright – Ray Bradbury; director: Warren Elliott; production manager – Patricia Grimm; costumes Susan Elliott
Hollis – Brian Elliott
Applegate – Alex Sabin
Lespere – Devlin Grimm
Stone – Sarah Doyle
Barkley – Justin Gulmire
Woode – Kit Honkanen
Stimson – Ian Wisneski
Info: gbcommunitytheater.com, where 12 “webinars” on theater topics are available for viewing by clicking on “Current Events.”