Local theater groups keep innovation going in the new year

Connie Shakalis | The Herald-Times

Sunday, January 10, 2021

 

“Blessings from the Pandemic: a poetry cycle in five movements” by Rich Orloff brings back to Bloomington (virtually), Rich Perez, former Bloomington Playwrights Project artistic director, and introduces Adrianne Embry, Indiana University theater student and one of the founders and co-presidents of IU’s Black Brown & Beige Theatre Troupe. She was also a co-host for the Bloomington Poetry Slam.

A diverse ensemble of actors and poets reads this cycle of poetry that delves into what humans do.

“Using poetry as theatre is a departure from our usual form of presenting theatre in the form of stage plays,” said artistic director Audrey Heller in an email, “and as such, it’s a unique opportunity for Bloomington theatergoers to see a production that utilizes poetry as a medium in response to a health issue that is having such a heavy impact on our lives.”

Although the production consists of poetry, it leans into common ground between poems and plays, calling attention to conversation and monologues.

The cycle addresses how all us of us now are going through the same phenomenon and how it is permitting us to pause and ponder our feelings. Some poems are profound, others informal. Different poems, of course, will speak to different people.

“It’s a new piece, evolving as we speak,” director Darrell Stone said in an email. “It is invigorating to be involved in creative work that is new, and spot on current!”

This pandemic year has been completely different from Stone’s past decades of working professionally — she is also a social worker, educator and director of an advocacy office at IU full time.

“My own personal takeaway is how exhausted we all are — all of us, everywhere. These pandemics are weighing heavily on our hearts and souls. This production helps to frame, release and contextualize it toward healing.”

Read the full article here.