Coming to a Yard Near You: Wilder Presents Socially-Distant Play Series


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Elyzabeth Wilder said the arrival of COVID-19 brought with it a lot of unexpected challenges. She didn’t expect to be homeschooling her daughter and finishing the spring semester online. One of the challenges, though, has not been as unpleasant as the rest. Social distancing and feelings of isolation have pushed her to stretch her creative muscles.

She’s no stranger to putting pen to paper and letting words flow from her mind like water from a faucet. But she’s never tried to create in the middle of a pandemic before while also trying to navigate what it looks like to teach online and make sure her daughter finishes the school year strong.

Wilder, who is Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at Sewanee, said the last few months have been particularly challenging in regard to her creative work. Stories haven’t stopped needing to be told, and she hasn’t stopped telling them.

This weekend, Wilder will produce a micro-theatre series consisting of four monologues performed in backyards and on front porches by Mountain locals.

“There are four plays that will be performed in 15 minutes. I wrote each of the monologues for members of the community who were willing to perform them. There have been a couple of rehearsals via Zoom and one socially-distant, in-person rehearsal on Thursday, but this really came out of a desire to try to bring people back together,” she said.

“The Front Porch Plays” will be Friday, June 5 and Sunday, June 7, and Wilder said she and the actors will assume the role of a traveling actor’s troupe, moving from one “stage” to the next in between each of the five performances.

Based on the guidelines set by Governor Bill Lee, Wilder said there will be no more than 10 people at each performance, and everyone, excluding the actors, will be required to wear masks.

“A lot of thought has been put into how we can do this, serve the most people and also keep the community safe,” she said. “The theatre and arts communities are being challenged right now on how to bring people back together and how to do it safely. The gift that comes with this is that we are all required to think more outside the box and do what’s been done before using new parameters.”

The monologues will be read by the University’s associate professor of theatre, Jim Crawford; visiting professor of English, Virginia Craighill; associate professor of English, Lauryl Tucker; and Eliza Griffy who is a student at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. Sewanee local Patton Watkins will play the guitar to provide music in moments of transition.

“I’ve really been impressed by how the theatre community has responded and has found interesting ways to still create connection and community during this time. It’s mostly happened online, so there have been a lot of Zoom readings of plays. Some theatres before they closed were able to record their plays and stream them online. Those have been really good solutions in this crisis, but they aren’t necessarily long-term solutions. Theatre is a communal event, and watching online does not give the same experience as watching with the people around you,” she said. “So we wanted to provide that.”

2022 July
2022 June
2022 May
2022 April
2022 March
2022 February
2022 January
2021 December
2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May