A Physically Distanced One Act Play
As we come to the end of what would have been our 43rd season at the Depot Theatre, we felt the need to interview some Depot alumni and see where and how they spent their Summer of 2020.
However, since we are all STARVED for live theatre, we decided forgo the usual interview format and transform their answers into a short One-act play.
Feel free to act it out in your living rooms or back yards!
The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY
The end of the summer during the Pandemic of 2020
LORI FUNK (Actor, 39 Steps & An Act of God), YVETTE CLARK (Actor, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Route 66) AMY GRIFFIN (Director, 39 Steps & actor, Outside Mullingar) SARAH OVERTURF (Stage Manager 2013-15) JONATHAN HADLEY (Actor, Pete N Keely, 39 Steps, Interim Producing Director 2014-15) and BETH GLOVER (Actor in over 12 productions, Director of Heroes and Wicked City). With some surprise guests.
(LIGHTS UP on the beloved Depot Theatre stage; the stage we all love and have seen transformed into any number of exotic places depending on the demands of the show. It is empty now. Suddenly there is the sound of a TRAIN WHISTLE. Six figures appear on the stage – all wearing masks and physically distanced, of course.)
LORI- Hey! We’re on the Depot Stage!! How the heck did we get here? I was walking in Fort Tryon Park with my husband and daughter and suddenly here I am!
BETH – (who is wearing a wide-brimmed sun bonnet) I was in the yard at my house in Saranac Lake, weeding my garden, and suddenly here I am!
YVETTE- (holding a remote control) I was in Brooklyn watching TV with my Mom and my son. Next thing I know..!!
SARAH – (wearing a headset) I was in Astoria on a Zoom call with my job and BOOM! Here I am!
JONATHAN – (holding a martini glass) I was having a cocktail on my roof in Greenwich Village! Cheers!
AMY – I was at my home in Nyack with my husband and son finally organizing my basement …..but I was thinking of my Summers at the Depot.
BETH – Me too!
JONATHAN – So was I!!
SARAH and YVETTE- Me TOO!!!
LORI – Ohhh… I think of the Depot often!
(Everyone sighs. Suddenly KENNEY GREEN, Producing Artistic Director of the Depot, appears and begins playing a jazzy tune on a baby grand piano that has also magically appeared. A second later KIM RIELLY, the Depot’s Executive Director, appears lounging on the piano.)
WHAT THEY MISS AT THE DEPOT…
EVERYONE- HI Kenney!!! Hi Kim!!!!
KENNEY and KIM- Hi you guys!!!
KIM – We certainly have missed you all this Summer!!
KENNEY – Let me ask you guys a question: What do ya’ll miss most about the Depot Summer experience?
YVETTE – You know…I’ve worked at many places but the Depot is special. I miss the mountains and the wrap around porch at the artist’s house.
LORI – The community is so lovely and supportive and welcoming. The space is perfectly quirky and charming. The gorgeous Adirondack setting cannot be beaten. The people I’ve met and worked with, and, subsequently, become great friends with, are some of the best of the best. Mix that with the chance to do what I love, and that sums up pretty much everything I miss the most right now.
AMY – The Depot is such an intimate theatre, and the sense of community is really special. The fact that the company rehearses and performs together all day and lives together in one big house creates a wonderful sense of family.
SARAH – The people, the art, the collective goal of making excellent theatre accessible to people in that area are what I miss.
BETH – The fast collaborative experience is always thrilling — rehearsing and creating in 9 days demands tight bonds both onstage and off. When it works (which is 99.99% of the time at the Depot), it is positively…. magical.
(KENNEY plays a verse of “Magic to Do” from Pippin and everyone sings along.)
JONATHAN – Absolutely! I miss the wonderful roles we get to play up here, away from the pressures of the city. Along with the Dogwood pizza and Stewart’s iced coffee!!
SARAH – Oh! The Keene Valley Farmer’s Market on Sundays is the BEST! And the Noon Mark Diner’s pies!
LORI – I want to take advantage of all those goodies once again. And, for me, ‘all those goodies’ means food and shopping. Westport, and places nearby, have fantastic restaurants, along with sweet little hidden retail gems. And I love introducing friends and family to all those places, too.
WHAT THEY’VE BEEN UP TO
KENNEY – (playing an “up tune” on the piano). So what has everyone done to keep busy during this crazy time?
AMY – Well, drinking wine and crying was my major pastime in the beginning. It was–and is–very hard to have basically everything in your profession cancelled with no idea when it will resume.
EVERYONE – Here, Here!!!
JONATHAN – It’s so true! 100% of the theatrical unions are out of work which makes us dependent on whatever we can get from Unemployment. I was in a touring show that was cancelled and we’re just waiting to see when and IF we will be able to return to a theatre. In the meantime, I hope something will come up!
AMY – It’s so rough! But, I will say, I have rallied somewhat. I’ve now been doing a lot of acting coaching on Zoom. Thankfully, one-on-one coaching works well in that format. I’m also continuing my own study (remotely) with my voice and acting teachers. I’m also directing a Zoom play reading coming up, and also acting in a Zoom reading. So that’s what’s keeping me alive creatively!
JONATHAN- I painted my entire apartment and read the whole C S Lewis Narnia series. But NOT at the same time!
SARAH- I tried to get caught up on script reading and listening to soundtracks. I began running (not creative, but definitely an outlet). I can’t wait until the city opens up a bit more to be able to get out to museums, music, etc.
BETH – I’ve been doing some writing and reading quite a few plays. I’ve participated in some readings of plays on Zoom and organized some. Karen, my wife/partner of 23 years…
EVERYONE: 23 years!!!!
BETH: Yep…while she and I were hunkered down here in the beauty of the Adirondacks we talked quite a bit about figuring out how to produce socially distanced theatre. We found a play for 2 actors that is PERFECT. The characters are strangers so using social distancing is natural. We are now in rehearsals and plan to hold performances in our yard (Mickey and Judy put on a show!) in late September. The audience will be limited to 20 people so they can also socially distance. A win for art! A win for theatre! A win for actors!
LORI – Taking inspiration from other friends and colleagues, my husband and daughter and I decided to do a family story time from our living room bean bag chair entitled ‘Bean Bag Story
Time.’ We post the videos on Facebook. To date, we’ve read close to 50 stories for the little folks (and some big folks, too). We’ve heard from people all over the country who have enjoyed watching. The goal was to create something that could potentially spread a tiny bit of joy. Hoping we’ve done just that. Fun fact: One of the books we read was Ingredients for a Witch, written by the multi-talented John Treacy Egan, who just happened to be our fabulous director for An Act of God at The Depot last season.
YVETTE – I just did my first virtual cabaret on August 28th, “Diva of the ‘Demic” on Facebook Live. Be on the lookout because another one is coming soon! For the past six months I have been posting videos of me singing show tunes on Marie’s Crisis Café page, Marie’s Group. We took our showtune piano bar virtual when our doors closed in mid-March.
ON STAGE MEMORIES
JONATHAN – Being on this stage brings back so many memories. Most of them having to do with a train stopping the show!! Beth, do you remember during Born Yesterday after a long train went by, that I picked up the phone on the set and said “Front desk? Can you move me to another room that’s not so near the train tracks??” Do any of you have a good memory to share?
BETH – Oh yes!!! When we were doing Guys and Dolls, Paul Kelly was Nathan Detroit and I was Miss Adelaide, we were in the scene where Adelaide is telling him she writes her mother about the 5 children they have, when a bat began swooping down causing us to duck several times. Paul Kelly said, pointing at the bat, “Did you tell your mother about this kid? He’s trying to kill us.”
YVETTE – I was in a production of Route 66 in 2014, I believe, and one of my character’s names in the show was Vonda Carter and she was a sheriff. One day in rehearsal, Adam Michael Tilford, who was our musical director, decided that she needed theme music to enter on. Well, I can’t tell how much I enjoyed walking out to my own theme music! HA!
AMY – When I was playing Rosemary in Outside Mullingar, we had a very unexpected moment of audience participation. The play is a very unconventional love story, and in the very last scene the two protagonists finally confess their long-hidden love for each other and share a long-awaited kiss. In one unforgettable performance, the fabulous actor, Todd Cerveris, embraced me, kissed me tenderly, and we heard (as usual) the “Ahhhh” of the touched and happy audience. Then, after one beat of silence, we heard a male audience member yell out a top volume: “GET A ROOM!” Todd and I began silently laughing so hard our shoulders were shaking and our teeth clicking together in our stage kiss! Thankfully, we only had about ten more lines before the play ended and we managed to keep it together till the lights went down.
SARAH – The people have always been the highlight of The Depot for me. But if I had to pick one memory, I would have to say the chicken story, and if you know, you know!!
(Suddenly in the distance we hear the rumbling of a train.)
SARAH – Ladies and Gentlemen, as your stage manager, I must inform you that a train is coming. We’ll need to dim the lights, as is tradition. Margaret! Margaret are you here?
(MARGARET SWICK, ace Lighting Designer and Master Electrician answers from the lighting loft).
MARGARET – Sure, I’m here! I’ve spent the whole pandemic up here. It’s very peaceful.
SARAH – Can you begin to dim the lights please? It looks like our time is up here, folks.
KIM – You know, no matter how bleak it seems now, we’ve got lots of plans for our theatre in the coming months, and the Depot WILL be back next summer! We can promise you that! But before you all leave one more question: is there any project you’d like to do or role you’d like to play when we are able to be back on this stage for real, sometime in the future? No promises, but we can add them to Kenney’s “potential show” list. Right, Kenney?
(KENNEY plays a fanfare on the piano and everyone cheers.)
SARAH- I know that when the train is back up and running I want to be available however The Depot needs me. I would love to stage manage in the train station again.
BETH – I’d like to play Polly in Other Desert Cities; Mame in Mame (if Depot ever started having large cast shows again); Mrs. Kitty Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession; Virginia in Native Gardens to name a few.
YVETTE – Anything written by August Wilson. If Fences were done, I would love to play Rose.
AMY- Oh, gosh, so many! Proof, I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change, Good People, God Of Carnage, Daddy Long Legs, ….the list goes on and on!
LORI – Oh I’d be happy to play ‘2nd tree from the left,’ in any production at The Depot, quite honestly. But, if I had my ‘druthers,’ it would be an honor to reprise either of my roles in an upcoming anniversary season of “favorites.” hint-hint 😉 I also think an all-female production of ‘Art‘ could be pretty fantastic. And, I’ve always wanted to play ‘Miss Hannigan’ in Annie. Hey, a gal can dream!
(KENNEY begins to play a dreamy version of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” on the piano as the lights slowly dim and fade to black.)
See you all next summer!