After new restrictions put in place by the provincial government, AWT’s latest show, Drinking in America by Eric Bogosian, will be available online at vimeo.ca and will not be opening for a live audience at the TRU Actors Workshop Theatre.
Although the cast and crew were looking forward to producing another live show during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were prepared, as they have prerecorded a version of the show that will be available online from Dec. 7-21.
Fortunately, a series of monologues make up the show, all covering various topics. The production was originally a one-man show, but director Wesley Eccleston has adapted the show and cast 15 actors to fill the multiple monologues. Very rarely are two actors on stage simultaneously, which has helped with following all COVID-19 protocols.
Bryce Craig performs the monologue ‘Our Gang’ and plays the character, Richie. Craig said that “the show has a lot of different pieces to it. There are different characters that don’t all connect. It’s not a conventional play in the sense that it’s all monologues and none of the characters really interact with a few exceptions, I suppose.”
This process has been quite different compared to other plays Craig has performed in. He said, “This is my first experience with a play that’s specifically monologues. And I suppose it’s interesting because even though a lot of the characters are doing things that you wouldn’t necessarily be doing, you can still connect to them in some form.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many adjustments made to the rehearsal process. Craig said, “each person only had a certain amount of rehearsals up until the part where we’re all rehearsing together. I only had two rehearsals before everyone started getting together and doing it all in one piece.” The actors had to do quite a bit of homework to truly understand and perform their individual monologues.
Another cast member reflected on his experience with AWT and the production of Drinking in America.
Ethan Oman performs the monologue ‘Commercial’ and plays the character, Eric. They also do the voice of Rocko in the monologue Melting Pot. Oman said the show is interesting “because everyone has a different story to tell, but it’s sort of based on the same thing.”
Oman has also said that the experience is like none other. “It’s been weird because we haven’t been really able to connect fully with some of our cast members because we don’t see them every rehearsal,” they said, noting the smaller amount of rehearsal time among castmates. “We’ve only seen them like three times overall so far. It’s a strange connection between all of us that we don’t really know a lot about each other besides the people we already knew before [rehearsals began].”
Drinking in America by Eric Bogosian will be available online from Dec 7-21. People can sign up for updates on when the prerecorded version of the show will be available here. Each link purchased is available for 24 hours and costs $16.50.