SOLOs – Episode 1

Presented by The Rock River Players and Hooker-Dunham Theater.
00:09 – Welcome
02:18 – “Always Ridiculous” performed by Rose Watson
06:01 – “Milo the Cat” performed Jonathan Kinnersley
09:05 – “Annabelle Lee ” performed John Ogorzalek
11:41 – “The Cherry Orchard” performed by Annie Landenberger
15:48 – “The Meaning of Life” performed by Tino Benson
23:38 – “Saint Joan” performed by Tom Ely
33:11 – etc.. – “The Stranger’s Speech” performed by Dan Lloyd
36:18 – “Richard III” performed by Cameron Cobane

The Rock River Players and The Hooker-Dunham Theater present SOLOs premiere

SOLOs Episode 1— a video montage of monologues and poetry by eight talented local actors filmed by Brattleboro Community Television — premieres simultaneously on BCTV and YouTube on Friday, November 13 at 7:30 PM coordinated with a participative online session where audience members will have a time to meet the cast, directors, producers, and technical staff in virtual “After Party.”

Each episode of SOLOs is co-production of The Rock River Players and the Hooker-Dunham Theater filmed on the Hooker-Dunham stage.

Bahman Mahdavi of the Rock River Players coordinated this first “episode” of the series. Mahdavi and RRP were in the midst of working nearly two dozen performers to create a production of The Front Page when the pandemic hit. With in-person performance not a viable option, he became excited by the idea of developing solo shows that could be safely filmed and made widely available through BCTV and online.

Annie Landenberger, a founder of the Rock River Players, stresses the importance of creativity in the face of the pandemic: “The Rock River Players are all about keeping the lively arts alive in the valley and yet, here we are, stymied by a Covid reality. Kudos to Bahman for facing that reality and keeping theatre alive for us, albeit virtually. Moreover he –in partnership with Jon Mack of Hooker Dunham and BCTV–have created a model that can endure as long as it needs to–until the dark cloud lifts, until we can applaud theatre together again en masse.

“Even though the performance are by single individual’s, the aim of SOLOs is to bring actors, directors, and writers together with their audience,” says Mack, who runs the Hooker-Dunham theater that is currently closed to audiences due to the pandemic. “The performing arts are all about the connection between artist and audience. The Hooker-Dunham is delighted to be hosting and co-producing an event which makes that connection while keeping safe. By working together with the Rock River Players, we’re able move forward.”

The ensemble is excited to have the opportunity to watch their show simultaneously with the audience and to conclude the evening with a brief online get-together that will be like the informal gatherings and “after-parties” that often follow theatrical premieres. Anyone who requests the link will be invited to a group online meeting with actors, directors, and technicians to share their reactions after seeing the show.

The first show in the series comprises seven monologues and one poem. John Ogorzalek performs Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabelle Lee, Dan Lloyd enacts a Shakespeare monologue on the plight of immigrants, Cameron Cobane takes on Richard III’s “Now is the winter of our discontent,” and Annie Landenberger of the Rock River Players performs a piece drawn from Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. Tom Ely performs the Inquisitor’s monologue from George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. Comic relief is provided by a monologue of a cat’s view of its human “master” and Rose Watson performs Always Ridiculous by Jose Echegaray. Tino Benson will perform an original piece, titled The Meaning of Life.

Other shows are in the pipeline. The next episode includes more Shakespeare performed by Michael Kennedy and Adrienne Major, T.S. Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and a reprise of a portion of a recent original play, Charles Henry’s Final Curtain performed by Ron Bos-Lun. Mahdavi has already begun working up a show consisting of entirely original work. A one-person show by the delightful Bill Forchion is also in development.

The Premiere will air on BCTV and YouTube at 7:30 on Friday, Nov. 13. To request the link to the YouTube video and to the “After Party” email info@hookerdunham.org. The production and after-party are free of charge.

For more information verbatimvt@gmail.com or call 802-348-7156.

The Hooker-Dunham Theater and the Rock River Players Announce SOLOs

A series of shows dedicated to monologues and poetry performed by local actors

SOLOs — a co-production of the The Hooker-Dunham Theater, the Rock River Players and Brattleboro Community Television — is a series of shows consisting of sets of monologues and poetry filmed on-stage in the Hooker-Dunham. The first show in the series will be premiered on BCTV and YouTube in late October. Many of our area’s most talented actors are contributing performances ranging from Shakespeare and Chekov to Edgar Allan Poe and T.S. Eliot as well as original material developed for the project.

“There is tremendous creative energy in our community. All of us in the arts are finding innovative ways to connect with our audiences. We conceived of this series of solo performances as a means of enabling local actors to reach their audiences while keeping everyone safe and healthy,” says Jon Mack, who hosts the series.

“As we have witnessed live theater go dark, the idea of this collaboration project between the Rock River Players, the Hooker Dunham Theater and Brattleboro Community Television to produce a series of well rehearsed monologues, soliloquies and poems in front of a camera for on-air & online broadcast seems like the natural next best option,” says Bahman Mahdavi of the Rock River Players, producer and lead director of the first show in the series.

In this first show, John Ogorzalek will perform of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem Annabelle Lee, Dan Lloyd will enact a Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More monologue on the plight of immigrants, Cameron Cobane takes on Richard III’s “Now is the winter of our discontent,” and Annie Landenberger — founder of the Rock River Players — will perform a piece drawn from Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. Tom Ely will perform the Inquisitor’s monologue from George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. Comic relief will be provided by a monologue of a cat’s view of its human “master” and Rose Watson will perform Always Ridiculous by Jose Echegaray. Tino Benson will perform an original piece, titled The Meaning of Life.

Subsequent shows in the series will include Michael Fox Kennedy performing a series of Shakespeare monologues on troubled sleep, Ron Bos-Lun will reprise his role from Cass Morgan’s Charles Henry’s Final Curtain, Jon Mack will take on T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and Adrienne Major will perform a Prospero monologue from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Actors who would like to be considered to perform in future shows are encouraged to contact the producers via the RRP contact page or Hooker-Dunham’s contact page: HookerDunham.org/contact.

All shows will be available to all without charge on BCTV and on the Hooker-Dunham’s YouTube channel.