Even as other forms of entertainment open up, we've still got some time until community theaters open their doors for shows. By no means does that mean these creative folks are wallowing; the team at Bakersfield Community Theatre is the first local venue to bring a performance to social media starting Friday.
"A Matter of Husbands" will be presented as a Facebook Live on the theater's page. The one-act play is a conversation between two women: Sara (Julie Gaines), a famous actress, and Ruth (Shelbe McClain), the earnest young woman who believes her husband is in love with Sara.
"This show is a light-hearted comedy interaction, which we think hits the right tone for audiences navigating a tense world presently," director Jan Hefner wrote in an email. "It happens in a theatrical setting and offers juicy roles for our wonderful actors, and is available to present without royalties, which is important to all theatres who cannot sell tickets to live productions at this time."
Gaines said she was excited to work with McClain and to team again with Hefner, who directed her in "Apples in Winter" in November and "Love Letters" in February, both at BCT.
She wrote in an email, "I really wanted to be involved in something that was a little different, and something that would take people's minds off of everything challenging around us for even a few minutes. A little farce seemed like the perfect project."
The actresses rehearsed a couple of nights per week for the last three weeks. Staged as a conversation between the women, "Husbands" plays well with the actresses on the screen facing each other, while in their respective homes.
Gaines said, "It's also not a show where physical contact is necessary, and facial expressions are very important; both of these fit this format very well."
Rebecca Worley, BCT's artistic director, is handling the technical aspects of this Facebook Live, working with Hefner and the two performers.
The show's run time is about 10 minutes, Hefner said, and afterward viewers can ask questions about the show or the theater.
Although BCT, like other local community theaters, has not determined a date to reopen, it has selected the shows for its 93rd season, which will be announced at a later date.
Hefner, who is also the theater's executive director, said that while the board has a plan to keep audiences safe, they still need to work out safeguards for those on stage and behind the scenes.
"BCT and other local theatres are on an extended intermission right now, but that we are still working to come back stronger than ever when we can provide a safe environment for everyone," Hefner wrote.
Gaines said she can't wait for live theater to come back but she's also thrilled to be able to share art in other ways like this show.
She wrote, "It may take a while, but I know we will bounce back."
"A Matter of Husbands" will stream live on BCT's Facebook page at 8 p.m. Friday. There will also be a link posted so viewers can donate to the theater if they wish.