The Reston Community Players are back on the stage after a year of no on-stage performances.
Dark since March 2020, the Reston Community Players have drawn back the curtain for a virtual-only performance of the Cold War-era drama “A Walk in the Woods.”
The show was pre-recorded at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center. It was available on-demand starting last week and will be available through March 25.
The theater’s artistic director Kate Keifer said the theater has been working “tirelessly” to develop new ways of creating and delivering their art to the community.
“It’s a hard time to know when is the ‘right’ time to come back to the stage,” writes Keifer in an email to Reston Now. “We have all missed producing live theater so much during the past year. Filming this production at the CenterStage at RCC… and then streaming it online seemed to be a good compromise to the continued concerns for the health and safety of our volunteers and our patrons.”
Keifer says that while it’s been the pause “equal parts frustrating and fascinating,” it’s given the theater a chance to innovate and learn new skills.
This past summer, the theater organized a two-day virtual telethon with partnership with more than a dozen other community theaters across the region to raise money for the arts.
In the fall, they held a month-long concert series to help with their own operating costs as well make donations to other local non-profits.
This performance of A Walk in the Woods, however, is the first time that they are getting back to doing something similar as they had done in the past.
A Walk in the Woods follows two Cold War nuclear arms negotiations, one Russian and the other American, as they hold a series of informal discussions in the woods about the current state of affairs. The seasons change, as do their understanding of one another.
Keifer admits that it was a challenge for the two-person cast to perform in front of an empty theater, but gave them the opportunity to get creative.
“[It was] definitely not as much fun as performing to a theater full of appreciative patrons,” she says. “But the actors in this production are extremely talented professionals who deliver carefully crafted, emotional performances despite the lack of a live audience. We were also able to explore techniques we don’t typically get to use, such as close up camera angles.”
As for when audiences will be able to see the Reston Community Players again in person, Keifer says the hope is soon.
“We are hopeful to be able to return to the stage before the end of 2021,” she says. ” We are working feverishly on some very exciting plans to make it happen.”
The Reston Community Players is a non-profit 501c and have been performing since 1966. It has called CenterStage their home since 1979.
Photo courtesy of Reston Community Players