ADAPTING: There is a answer to just about every problem and Steve Steiner, creating artistic director of the Surflight, identified them around just about every curve of 2020 for a COVID-cost-free practical experience. (Photograph by Ryan Morrill)
In 2020, most U.S. regional theater corporations made and unmade their opening programs multiple situations. Some organizations went on-line, building information, podcasts and virtual camps for little ones. Other people canceled their season completely. Beach front Haven’s Surflight Theatre, on the other hand, not only was ready to open, but its corporation of actors and professionals remained COVID-free of charge for the entire time. How did Steve Steiner, creating creative director, pull off this feat, and how will his experience from 2020 inform the approaching 2021 period?
When requested, Steiner smiled and elaborated on his favourable philosophy that resonates not only in the theater entire world, but in every walk of lifetime. “There is a resolution to each individual dilemma,” he explained. “Our task is to uncover that answer.”
Protection protocols have been the very first space of aim for Steiner and his crew. Actors and professionals were being necessary to be tested frequently. Were the actors and tech people today in an isolating “bubble”? Steiner laughed. “Oh confident! We experienced a lousy man’s NBA bubble: All of the precautions, none of the perks!” Solid members and the tech crew were permitted to socialize only with every other. The cleaning program was extreme and recurrent, utilizing electrostatic spray along with other sanitizing brokers. All rehearsals took position outside. Ticket sales dictated seating preparations less than an open-air tent in close by Veterans Memorial Park. “We made 14 distinctive seating arrangements final summertime and will probably be undertaking the very same point in 2021.”
Due to the fact Steiner realized the 2020 productions would be executed outside underneath a massive best, the choice was produced to scrap a few of the much more bold musicals. “We have been making an attempt to study every little thing on the fly,” he said, “and in holding with state mandates.”
So how did classes uncovered in 2020 enable Steiner get ready for 2021?
“One factor for guaranteed,” he mentioned, “things cannot be far more restrictive than they have been in 2020!” All the exhibits picked out for 2021 are exhibits that can be performed indoors or outdoors in the tent, dependent on what protocols are desired. This 12 months, not just for basic safety factors but also for money reasons, casts will be more compact.
Gail Anderson, affiliate artistic director/casting director, stated casting for the 2021 time is ongoing. The moment once more, casting is getting accomplished nearly. “We seriously enjoy casting,” said Anderson, “so when yet again this yr, we truly pass up the conversation not only with actors, but with the larger theater community as perfectly. It’s also much far more tricky deciding upon actors almost since it’s hard to get a study on their ‘presence,’ how they come throughout on phase.”
Both Steiner and Anderson also miss out on catching up with actors they’ve watched “grow” over the decades. Extra than several theaters, Surflight is a nurturing atmosphere for actors. “We’ve experimented with pretty difficult to build a household in this article,” mentioned Anderson. Steiner told of an actor who was an intern in 1998 and then arrived back again as an actor in 2019.
Speaking of family, when asked if Steiner had a favorite exhibit in the 2021 season, it was as if he’d been asked to identify his beloved boy or girl. He discussed why “Xanadu,” managing this Aug. 10-29, is the show he’s most wanting forward to. “Unlike the film, which was horrible, the musical adaptation is actually funny, and the new music by ELO’s Jeff Lynne is good. There is even roller skating!”
As has been completed each individual 12 months, “we try out to make a time that appeals to everybody,” claimed Steiner. In some way, with audiences that selection from senior citizens to vacationing households, he has consistently identified the proper mix. He has also benefited from LBI’s local community help. Very last summer time, when the significant top rated tent blew over in a freakish summertime storm, Surflight was up and jogging once more in two days. “Everybody really pitched in, from the actors and the tent company to group members who wandered up and requested to assistance,” reported Steiner.
The Surflight 2021 time offers musicals, plays, comedy and concerts for grownups, as effectively as children’s camps and productions. Mainstage productions in addition to “Xanadu” are “Annie,” July 3-18 “A Chorus Line,” July 20-Aug. 8 “Sh-Increase! Existence Could Be a Aspiration,” Aug. 31-Sept. 12 “I Like You, You’re Fantastic, Now Modify,” Sept. 14-26 “Almost Maine,” Sept. 29-Oct. 3 “Buddy,” Nov. 23-28 and “Ebenezer,” Dec. 4-19.
And for Easter, the theater is holding “Tea With the Easter Bunny” on April 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., that includes sweets and tracks with bunny and Belle. Tickets are $20 and little ones more youthful than 2 are admitted totally free.
— Marsia Mason