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 The production and after-party are free of charge.

For more information or call 802-348-7156.