of the musical "The Theory of Reletivity"
As I sat in the virtually empty theater Monday night listening and making photographs of the first all-cast dress rehearsal for this week's opening of Neil Bartram's "The Theory of Relativity," one story from my past kept circling through my mind.
I was getting off a public transit bus in Providence, Rhode Island in 1987. As I stepped off the last step, I noticed someone trying to get on the bus. I looked up and my eyes met the eyes of another woman who I had never met. We both had an almost startled look on our face. In that split second glance we fell in love, dated, got married, had children, grand-children and lived a long happy life before we both died on the same day completely content with the life that began that day at the bus stop.
Of course she got on the bus and I continued to catch my next bus on my way to my college classes. We never saw each other again.
The Theory of Relativity explosres these kind of happenstance occurrences that show people struggling with their own self-conscious lives in search of meaningful love.... or not.
This fairly new play premiered in 2016. It features a few intermingled story lines combining monologues and songs that begin and end with entire ensemble songs.
"I chose this piece very specifically so that we could have as many performance options as possible due to Covid-19," said director Sarah Gilbert who tried to put this show on in the fall only to have further restrictions put in place just days before the performance.
She says the socially distanced stage allowed for options in case they had to do an all virtual performance and even piece together home recordings. If the state mandated restrictions wouldn't allow a stage production, she was bound and determined to still have a show for the kids.
"It gives the seniors a chance to have one more show," she said.
The characters don't share too many scenes together and they have been blocked to accommodate the pandemic guidelines.
As a result they will be performing this show as a hybrid of limited socially distanced live audience - a 150 capacity and online through a on demand live stream which can actually accommodate thousands.
Gilbert hopes the live attendee ticket sales fill up to cover the costs of the production. She says the rest of the virtual ticket sales then go towards future productions.
Pre-pandemic Franklin and Rocky Grove decided to team up to hold two shows a year, one at each venue open to both schools. This performance only features on Rocky Grove student. The show was originally slated to run last fall.
Cast members include:
Elijah Cowles (’21, FHS)
Gavin Empson (’21, RGHS)
Tyler Walkowski (’21, FHS)
Emmalee Baden (’21, FHS)
Clarice Miller (’21, FHS)
Alyssa Shick (’22, FHS)
Grace Turk (’22, FHS)
Josie Fish (’22, FHS)
Silas Adams (’23, FHS)
Sydney May (’23, FHS)
Moravia Beach (’23, FHS)
Charlie Showers (’24, FHS)
Erin Ohler (’21, FHS)
Eren McKinley (’21, FHS)
Lily Songer (’21, FHS)
Karl Kestner (’21, FHS)
Toby Greenawalt (’23, FHS)
Grace Freer (’23, FHS)
Arika Songer (’23, FHS)
Izzy Ramfos (’23, FHS)
The pit band includess:
Music Director, Keyboard, Zach Covington
Keyboard 2, Preston Yoder
Guitar, Jacob Creighton
Bass, Wendall Holmes
Drums, Beth West
Costumes were done by Alysha Graham
Poster and artistic design, Darrellyn Freeman
Technical director, Tim Gilbert
Director is Sarah Gilbert
Those nterested in seeing this performance and supporting Franklin and Rocky Grove High School arts bus purchase their tickets in advance by visiting: www.showtix4u.com/#streaming
Tickets prices are:
In person student - $6.00
In person adult - $9.00
Livestream single - $9.00
Livestream family (1-4 people) - $15.00
Livestream watch party (5+ people) - $20.00
"Of course, these tickets for the livestream are made through an honors system," Gilbert stresses hoping people understand the importance of supporting the school and their art offerings.
Gilbert also added the importance of this musical play's message. "The final question the show asks: “Even if my path doesn’t directly intersect with someone else’s, do I have the ability to change their life trajectory?” she wrote in a press release.
"Of course, by the end, I think the answer will clearly be - yes”
Last chance to sign up for this education opportunity in Franklin. Click on ad for more info.
Click on photos to enlarge