Live entertainment venues have been struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic as social distancing requirements and statewide restrictions have caused many to remain closed to the public.
Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre is one such venue. The theatre has responded creatively to the closure of its physical black box theatre, commissioning seven new plays written for a Zoom format.
The four-part series, Given Circumstance: New Plays in the Virtual World, begins Sept. 18 and runs every weekend through Oct. 11.
“The term ‘given circumstance’ is a theatrical term used by practitioners to describe the circumstances defined by the playwright, which frames the play,” said Mile Square Theatre Artistic Director Chris O’Connor.
“We thought the term was apt to describe the circumstances that are defining theatre in the time of COVID. A monumental circumstance these days is that we now live in a digital world, chiefly defined by Zoom calls. All of these commissions have asked the playwrights to set their plays on the Zoom platform as a central ‘given circumstance.’ ”
The series will begin with Lia Romeo’s play Sitting and Talking, which follows a man and woman in their 60s as they navigate the awkward and sometimes hilarious path to companionship via online dating during quarantine.
The play stars Dan Lauria, who played the titular role in Broadway’s Lombardi, and Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Wendie Malick.
They will be directed by James Glossman.
While Romeo’s play stands alone, the rest of the Given Circumstance lineup will provide audiences with two short plays when they tune in.
On the weekend of Sept. 25, new plays by Nandita Shenoy and Kevin R. Free will be presented. Plays by Audley Puglisi and Cary Gitter will be presented on the weekend of Oct. 2.
The series will end the weekend of Oct. 9 with work by Dustin Chinn and MST’s own Chris O’Connor.
“We are thrilled to have this impressive lineup of writers and theatre collaborators,” O’Connor said.
Purchase a ticket
Tickets for Sitting and Talking cost $20. Tickets for the other plays cost $15.
Purchase tickets at www.milesquaretheatre.org.
The video link will be emailed to the purchaser and made available starting the Friday of the show’s assigned weekend. It will continue to be available for 48 hours after the purchaser first hits play.
Plays are about 30 minutes long.
Advance Realty, Aecom/Tishman, Bijou Properties, Haven Savings Bank, Jet.com, Kearny Bank, and The Rockefeller Group sponsor this season of Mile Square Theatre.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Hudson County Executive Tom Degise, and the Hudson County Board of Commissioners.
Mile Square Theatre is supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.