COVID-19 has caused so much suffering to so many. One section of the needy population is children, who, now that school is closed, not getting enough to eat. Playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham have stepped up to the plate by creating The Homebound Project, an online theater initiative to fill the gap of these needy children by raising funds.
To facilitate the project, over 50 leading and emerging actors and playwrights have united to create a collection of new theater works to be streamed. One can donate $10 and up to obtain view-at-home tickets to streamed showings that benefit No Kid Hungry.
The first edition takes place from now through 7 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 10. Subsequent editions will air May 20–24 and June 3–7.
Here are five snippet synopses of the current set of 10 monologues, approximately five minutes each, with the overall theme of “Home” tackled by the participating playwrights:
- Sarah Ruhl’s ” What do you Want What do you Want What do you Want” features a mother (performed by Jessica Hecht) trying unsuccessfully to placate her non-stop crying twin daughters. Finally, the girls offers a simple but moving suggestion. The wisdom of the children works wonders.
- In Ren Dara Santiago’s “Building Models” (performed by Glenn Davis), a son discusses with his dad their mutual enjoyment of building toy model cars when the son was a child. The son likens this to his present act of building models with his own son. But the monologue develops into something deeper regarding the father and son relationship.
- Eliza Clark’s “The Jessicas” (performed by Marin Ireland) features home in a space pod, with the old-timer regaling newcomers with the unusual elements of life in space. “You’ve left all your belongings behind, and know you can’t return,” she lightly informs. The piece has a heady mix of light and dark and a touch of melancholy.
- In Martyna Majok’s “Love Letter to an Irish Pub” (performed by Thomas Sadoski), a man extols the virtues of his great experiences in a pub. He met his wife here, they brought their infant here, and he wrote his novel here. But he is alone now, and turns all his attention to the bartender, who’s not even Irish. A quirky, sweet tale.
- C.A Johnson’s “Diversions” (performed by Alison Pill) shows a woman, married for some years, expressing mild discontent. She’ll always love her husband, but something’s missing. It’s not a lover, not a pet… It’s a surprise! A rather delightful one.
Other entrants are “Port Isabel” by Lucy Thurber, with performer Christopher Abbott; “Homesick” by Qui Nguyen, with performer Raymond Lee; “Eszter” by Rajiv Joseph, with performer Elizabeth Rodriguez; “Father” by Max Posner, with performer William Jackson Harper; and “Some Combination of Goop and Oprah and You” by Catya McMullen, with performer Amanda Seyfried.
These are all unusual, some quirky, all well performed by professional theater folk, supported by fine writing. Directed by Jenna Worsham and video editing and design by Jon Burklund.
Here’s an opportunity to stream entertaining theater comfortably at home, and help fund a worthy project:
Homebound Project’s No Kid Hungry
Diana Barth writes for several theater publications, including New Millennium. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org