Here’s another chance to see live theater, from a safe distance, if you are so inclined.
The Players Ring, based on Marcy Street in Portsmouth, N.H, will reopen on Friday, Oct. 2, with the U.S. premiere of “Mary and Me” by Irish playwright Irene Kelleher, starring Emily Karel and directed by Peter Josephson. It plays through Sunday, Oct. 11.
The reopening of The Players Ring, closed since March due to the pandemic, features new protocols to keep audience, actors and staff safe. These include a new air handling and ventilation system, reduced capacity from 75 to 33 seats, social distancing of 6 feet, a health check at the door and a mandatory mask policy.
“Our number-one priority in deciding to reopen has been the safety of our artists, volunteers and audiences,” said Production Manager Margherita Giacobbi.
The Ring had more than 50 new and established plays submitted for consideration this year. And the season, selected by an artistic committee established by the board of directors, is exciting and provocative.
“Mary and Me,” inspired by a true story, tells the tale of a shy, lonely, 15-year-old girl in a small Irish village in 1984. She discovers she is pregnant and begins a series of conversations with a statue of the Virgin Mary in a grotto. Brimming with light, warmth and humor, the play follows the young woman’s desperate search for understanding and meaning.
Karel, the star in the one-woman show, has worked with Boston-based Shakespeare & Company and the West Roxbury Theater.
Other fall plays include the comedy “The Savannah Sipping Society” by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope, directed by Carol MacDonald, Oct. 23-Nov. 1; “Proof” by David Auburn, Nov. 13-22; a one-man “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Christopher Savage, Nov. 27-Dec. 20; and a magic show, “Discovering Magic,” by Andrew Pinard, Dec. 26-27. Plays for the winter will be announced later.
Only bottled drinks will be for sale. Seat assignments will be allocated by The Ring. Tickets are $24; $20 for adult members, students and seniors; $18 for senior and student members. Online purchases are strongly recommended at www.playersring.org.
Performances will also be available to view online via pay-per-view. Visit the website for info.
In the wings
MRT/FREE SOIL PARTNERS: Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Free Soil Arts Collective, Lowell’s only Black-owned theater company, have formalized their partnership this season, making Free Soil MRT’S first official Company in Residence, according to Artistic Director Courtney Sale and Executive Director Bonnie Butkas. “I am beyond excited to have founder Christa Brown and Free Soil partner with us in this bold endeavor,” Sale said. “We have much to learn from their artistry and engagement. … The winner in this ‘coming together’ is the people of the greater Lowell region. Folks will feel a solidarity of arts leaders focused on strikingly original work, an everlasting focus on equity and generous care for our beloved community.” Brown will join the MRT artistic staff and participate in season planning, casting, equity and anti-racist work within MRT and initiatives for emerging leaders. Brown, honored and excited by the new partnership, said it “directly supports Free Soil’s mission to amplify and strengthen the voice of artists of color. We look forward to working side by side with MRT as we glean nonprofit best practices, knowledge sharing and support their efforts toward becoming an anti-racist organization.” Free Soil operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. It presented the original play “Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage” at MRT last summer. As its Company in Residence, Free Soil will receive rehearsal, performance and office space. Both companies will work jointly in community engagement efforts focused on their programming.
MEET THE AUTHOR: Enjoy an intimate evening with author Charlotte Bronte on Friday, Sept. 25, as History At Play presents historical interpreter Laura Rocklyn in a one-woman, live-streamed performance at 7:30 p.m. Entitled “To Do More and Better Things,” Rocklyn’s interpretation takes the audience to 1853 after the publication of “Villette,” Bronte’s third and most personal novel. She reflects on her family, education and experiences in Brussels. She also reflects on the difficulties and opportunities that literary fame has brought her and the hardships faced by single women attempting to make a living and name for themselves and how she and her sisters rose above these barriers. The 40-minute performance will be followed by a real-time audience Q&A. Offered as a pay-what-you-can rate of $10-$25 at Pay-Per-Hap Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/PayperHAP, or at Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/pay-per-hap-facebook-live-immersive-living-history-experience-tickets-101577970444.
FILM FEST: The 36th annual Boston Film Festival takes place in both live and virtual platforms Thursday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 27. It features inspiring and entertaining films and documentaries that address topics from war and politics to mental health, sports and the environment. For the full schedule, descriptions and ticket info, visit www.bostonfilmfestival.org or its Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
BOSTON NOTES: This fall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is launching Encore BSO Recitals, a weekly online series featuring 50 musicians of the BSO in nine video-stream performances. They will be released at www.bso.org every Thursday at noon through Nov. 12. Visit the website for regular updates on virtual performances through the fall and into the winter. … Boston Ballet recently announced that performances will be virtual through the fall and winter, including “The Nutcracker,” a beloved holiday tradition. Depending on the pandemic situation next spring, the company will present two in-person, live programs in May at the Citizens Bank Opera House. “The Nutcracker” will air on NBC10 Boston beginning Saturday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m., with encore airings and on-demand viewing on NECN and Spanish-language Telemundo. It will also be available for free for a limited time on www.bostonballet.org.
Nancye Tuttle’s email address is [email protected]