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Skylight LIVE - Now Playing

Free, fun and LIVE

Presented by Skylight Theatre Company. Each week, enjoy live performances of new short plays by local artists created especially for streaming online.  Each play lasts about ten minutes and is followed by a Q&A.

Scroll down for list of Skylight Live plays (current and past)
- Technical Director / Stage Manager: GARRETT CROUCH
- Original Music for Skylight Live: MICHAEL TEOLI


Thank you for continuing to support theatre artists and live performance during these extraordinary times.

Donate here  or Venmo us @SkylightTheatre

Next

August 13, 3:00pm

ALLERGIC TO WALNUTS
Is love a logical equation or simply about nuts?

An awkward older couple declare their love for each other and, in the course of conversation, discover it’s their first time being loved.

Playwright: Michelle Kholos Brooks
Director: Jenny Sullivan
Performed by: JoBeth Williams, Joe Spano

MEET THE ARTISTS


August 20, 3:00pm - Special Reservation Only Event

AMERICA ADJACENT

Early in 2019 we performed this timely play about immigration and the American Dream. Join us for a special dialogue with the writer, director and cast after watching an archival recording of AMERICA ADJACENT as it was performed before an audience at Skylight Theatre.

AMERICA ADJACENT Skylight Theatre World Premiere

STORY: In pursuit of the American Dream, six pregnant Filipina women risk everything. Confined to a one-bedroom, one-bath unit in Hollywood the women do their best to overcome fears of jail and deportation so that their children can have a better life. Playwright Boni B. Alvarez examines the promise of U.S. Citizenship and ask, “How far would you go to give your child a future?”

Playwright: Boni B. Alvarez
Director: Jon Lawrence Rivera
Performed by: Evie Abat, Angela Baesa, Toni Katano, Hazel Lazano,Samantha Valdellon, Sandy Velasco, Arianne Villareal

Live conversation with the artists about the play, and what they discovered about the women who risk everything for their children and a chance at the "dream. Have current events changed the play? What would they do differently? You can participate in the Q&A by typing your questions into the chat.

MORE ABOUT THE PLAY AND ARTISTS

Reservations will be required


August 27, 3:00pm
BETWEEN PORTLAND AND PHILLY - The fifth installment of "Benton Way"
Protest, reconciliation and two new sweethearts connect

Writers: Tony Abatemarco, Michael Kearns, Penelope Lowder
Director: Tony Abatemarco
Performed by: Adam Ballard, Dee Freeman, Adam Lebowitz-Lockard, Marlon Sanders
Original music for this installment by Patrick Kirst
-- Watch previous installments this page and next


September 3, 3:00pm
WAKE UP CALL
It's never too late to make a better choice.

Writers: Wendy Kout, Jeff Reno


September 10, 3:00pm
IN SESSION
Couple’s therapy is never easy, especially when quarantined during a pandemic. Now toss in a Zoom therapist with marital problems...

Writer: Meredith Besser

Previous Events

August 6, 3:00pm

GET ME TO THE ZOOM ON TIME -
- The second installment of "All the Lonely People, A Pandemic Rom-Com"
With everything disinfected, Ellie and Mathew are ready for Father Mac to officiate at their Zoom wedding. Suddenly, a mysterious woman appears.  Let us pray...

Writer: Anna Mathias
Director: Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
Performed by: Steve Hofvendahl,  Lily Knight,  Kavi Ladnier, Rob Nagle,
- Developed at Antaeus Playwright’s Lab
Watch a recording of ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE on this page

MEET THE ARTISTS

Followed by a Q&A with the artists.


July 30, 3:00pm - Special Reservation Only Event

Earlier this year we performed WEST ADAMS, the 2020 LA Times Critics Choice play about the absurdity of racism. Some thought it went too far, others felt it didn't go far enough. Since the death of George Floyd conversations have changed.

Join us for a special dialogue with the writer, director, and cast after watching our archival recording of WEST ADAMS as it was performed before an audience at Skylight Theatre.

WEST ADAMS

A story about the absurdity of racism.

With a hostile takeover of a neighborhood block party and altruistic dreams of gentrification, Penelope Lowder’s newest play, set in LA's historic "WEST ADAMS" district suggests that perhaps reshaping a newly adopted neighborhood in your image isn’t as lofty as one might think.

READ THE REVIEWS & DISCOVER THE ARTISTS

Playwright: Penelope Lowder
Director: Michael A. Shepperd
Performed by: Allison Blaize, Andrés M. Bagg, Clayton Farris, Jenny Soo
Talk moderated by: Lee Sherman

Live Conversation about the play, racism, and the current moment follows.
2 hours with artist talk

July 23, 3:00pm

DEAR AUNTIE D
“Dear Auntie D" is a conversation (based on their actual emails) between a 95 year old woman and her beloved niece, who is deprived from seeing her. A sadly relatable tale these days, albeit with humor and history attached.

Writer: Michele Willens
Director: Risa Brainin
Performed by: Ann Gee Byrd, Karole Foreman


July 16, 4:00pm [SPECIAL TIME for this performance]

SQUARE ONE... the fourth installment of BENTON WAY
When the past becomes a minefield, can love move forward?
In this 4th installment of BENTON WAY, personal histories reveal the roots of racial tension that Matt & Lionel must struggle to overcome.

Writers: Tony Abatemarco, Michael Kearns, Penelope Lowder
Director: Tony Abatemarco
Performed by: Adam Ballard, Dee Freeman, Adam Lebowitz-Lockard
Original music for Square One, Benton Way by Patrick Kirst
-- Watch previous installments this page and next


July 9, 3:00pm

The Weekend I Thought I Had COVID
In the wee hours of a horrific morning, a man with Covid symptoms gains personal insight.

Written and performed by: Dan Frischman
Director: Gary Grossman


July 2, 3:00pm

A scene from LAVENDER MEN, An Emancipation Play
Sneak a peek into the historical fantasia of Taffeta, a self-proclaimed "fabulous queer creation of color,” as she invades the private world of Abraham Lincoln to confront issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility that still challenge us today.

Writer: Roger Q. Mason
Director: Lovell Holder
Performed by: Roger Q. Mason, Greg Nussen, Nich Witham


June 25, 3:00pm

THE SEX SEANCE
Before a "sexy-time Zoom call," a lesbian couple must first banish a ghost haunting one of their apartments.

Writer: Henry Alexander Kelly
Director: Bruce Lemon Jr.
Performed by: Jasmine Meadows, Carene Rose Mekertichyan


Friday, June 19th, 6:00pm

Juneteenth Special Event (June 19th)

The Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project

On Friday, Juneteenth, (June 19th), theatre communities around the country will provide their response to the current moment – the civil uprising that has come as a reaction to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others before them – with simultaneous free readings of Vincent Terrell Durham’s bold new play, "Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids".

READ MORE


June 18, 3:00pm

ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE  - A pandemic Rom-Com
In a small village in England, social distancing endangers a pastor’s already struggling Church, and an eager couple who have finally found each other. Will love or disinfectant triumph?

by Anna Mathias
Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky
Performed by: Steve Hofvendahl,  Lily Knight, Rob Nagle
- Developed at Antaeus Playwright’s Lab


June 11, Thursday 3pm

PRELUDE TO A PROMISE
In "Prelude to a Promise," the third installment of BENTON WAY, current events come close to threatening the love that began on Zoom.  Can two men--one black, one white--survive bigotry, panic, and despair?

Writers and Directors: Tony Abatemarco & Michael Kearns
Performed by: Adam Ballard, Adam Lebowitz-Lockard
-- Watch previous "Who's Zoomin' Who" & "Benton Way", Videos this page


June 4, 3:00pm

Special Event
BLACK LIVES MATTER  - "Say Their Names"
Join us in honoring some of the many black lives that have been unjustly murdered simply because of the color of their skin. Say their names with us. There is power in their names and in remembering them.

Watch here


May 28, 3:00pm

CLOSE AND FAR AWAY
Two old friends reconnect via zoom during quarantine... but technology and distance are the least of their problems.

Writer: Cory Hinkle**
Director: Elina de Santos
Performed by: Melissa Paladino, Jennifer Pollono
**Resident Playwright
- see Video this page


May 21, 3:00pm

AND THE VOID SAYS HA HA HA I DO THAT
An aspiring stand-up comedian tries to test out new material to The Void

Writer: Leesa Kim
Director: Sarah Hahm
Performed by: Diona Burnett, Miya Kodama
- see Video this page


May 14, 3:00pm

OUR SECOND HONEST CONVERSATION
Cora and Daniel confront each other after Cora makes a huge decision about their relationship while they are still quarantined in separate places.

written by: Christine Hamilton Schmidt
directed by: Victoria Pearlman
performed by: Poonam Basu, Clayton Farris
*Advisory: Adult language and themes
-- Watch "Our First Honest Conversation" -  see Video this page


May 7, 3:00pm

THE PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL DISTANCING
Social distancing is nothing new for Jimmy.  In-fact it’s the story of his life… isolated, apart from society, he works all by himself – in the projection booth.

written by Tom Lavagnino
directed by Gary Grossman
performed by Gregg T. Daniel
- see Video this page

See additional plays and videos

NOTE: To view the recording of the live performance in full screen, place your cursor over the image then click on the "full screen" icon which looks like this:

Full screen icon

SKYLIGHT LIVE is supported in part by a grant from the DCA, City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Schedule

Online - Thursdays
Streamed live on YouTube and Facebook

WATCH: Allergic To Walnuts...ON FACEBOOK

WATCH: Allergic To Walnuts...ON YOU TUBE


August  13:00pm
Allergic To Walnuts

August 20, 3:00pm
Spec. Event: America Adjacent

August 27, 3:00pm
Between Portland and Philly
- 5th installment of "Benton Way"

*Schedule and artists subject to change

Los Angeles Times Feature

Call it pandemic theater: These plays are set amid the coronavirus quarantine

LA Times feature: Call it pandemic theater

By Ashley Lee, Staff Writer
April 2, 2020, 9:40 AM

“OK, let’s do this,” said Poonam Basu to Clayton Farris. It’s the opening lines in “Our First Honest Conversation,” a one-act play in which an estranged couple attempts to reignite a sexual spark using only words.

But this staging of the dramedy was different. Playwright Christine Hamilton-Schmidt had tweaked a few lines of the script — originally set within a single room — to take place on a video call. Because of the novel coronavirus, the man and woman in the story were sheltering in place separately and therefore even more desperate to reconnect.

“It’s still the same two characters with the same relationship problems,” director Victoria Pearlman told The Times. “But the piece was slightly adjusted to speak to the immense change that’s happened in the last month, and the situation we’re all in.”

Skylight Theatre, a Los Angeles theater company that prioritizes social issues, unveiled the newly revised version online last week with the maximum 100 socially distanced viewers streaming the show live on Zoom. It kicked off weekly plays from its writers lab set amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the series will continue until Skylight can open its doors again.

The company has since switched to YouTube and Facebook to accommodate an unlimited number of viewers. Each piece is available live and on demand free of charge, and all cast and crew are volunteering.

“This is a really tough time, and we don’t know when it’s going to end,” said Gary Grossman, producing artistic director of Skylight Theatre. “But actors need to act, writers need to write, directors need to direct, and theaters need to keep doing what we do. This is about staying in touch with our community and saying, ‘We’re gonna be together again soon.’

[VIDEO: OUR FIRST HONEST CONVERSATION]

These quarantine-set scripts aren’t as depressing as the real-life situations that have inspired them. “Benton Way,” streaming Thursday at 3 p.m., follows two businessmen (played by Adam Ballard and Adam Lebowitz-Lockard) who catch each other’s eye during a company conference call. Since they can’t get to know each other in person, they try to do so in isolation.

“It’s almost like falling in love with someone over written letters, the way people did in the 19th century,” said Tony Abatemarco, Skylight’s co-artistic director, who wrote the romantic comedy with Michael Kearns. He found it therapeutic to develop characters who are as concerned about the pandemic and practicing social distancing as he is.

“All of the factual developments, day by day, are already present in every conversation I have,” said Abatemarco. “But there’s a desire to keep normalcy in place, to share a joke or a funny observation of being trapped in the house for weeks.”

Likewise, playwrights participating in 24 Hour Plays’ “Viral Monologues” series — which uploaded its latest batch of soliloquies to Instagram on Tuesday — are setting their texts amid the spread of the coronavirus, explicitly or otherwise, even though no one was asked to do so. (Methuen Drama will publish these writings as a book, edited by Howard Sherman, who inspired the solo series.)

“The playwrights are never given any kind of specific prompt, but since our work is being seen the same day it’s being created, it usually can’t help but be about whatever is happening in the world because it’s already on everybody’s mind,” said artistic director Mark Armstrong, referring to previous 24 Hour Plays events with pieces about the Sept. 11 attacks, Hurricane Sandy and the 2016 presidential election.

Pandemic-set plays were bound to happen sooner or later, and it’s so close to home. Numerous members of the theater community have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Tom Hanks, Aaron Tveit, Daniel Dae Kim, Laura Bell Bundy and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The disease took the lives of Terrence McNally and Adam Schlesinger.

“In the few weeks we’ve been doing this, it has moved from an abstraction of numbers to actual people who have it, who are struggling and who have passed away,” he explained. “Some plays are about it directly, or in an oblique way. Others don’t even mention it — the moment we’re in is just an element in the room, and the fact that they’re performed in isolation creates that sense of aloneness that many of us have right now.”

A few playwrights have turned to humor. Mario Correa had Derrick Baskin attempt to bluntly woo back an ex, and Harrison David Rivers, who had Russell G. Jones demonstrate how best to steal toilet paper rolls.

[IMAGE OMITTED]

But the global situation has become a personal one for Will Arbery. The “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” playwright, who has had asthma all his life and inherited the condition from his father, wrote a piece about a parent trying to console a child struggling to breathe in the middle of the night.

“I had been hunkering down for a week in panic and anxiety and despair, about breath and how frail our human bodies actually are,” Arbery told The Times from Brooklyn.

“I’ve since pulled myself out of that dark place and am trying to find opportunities for hope. This felt like a way to tap into some of what I was feeling, and hopefully reach people who were feeling the same things and help them feel less alone.”

Michael Shannon performed the intimate seven-minute monologue to his character’s off-screen kin, the camera positioned to shoot upward as if the viewer were sitting with them both.

Though the coronavirus has halted nearly the entire theater industry, it’s also inspiring some of its artists. “Theater is so up in the air right now, we don’t know what next season will look like, or what will happen to all the shows that were postponed because of it,” Arbery said.

“I guess it’s just a compulsion — I can’t help but try to make something beautiful out of what’s going on.”

Original music for Skylight Live by Michael Teoli
Technical Advisor and Stage Manager for Skylight Live: Garrett Crouch
- Supported in part by the DCA City of Los Angeles

Schedule

Online - Thursdays
Streamed live on YouTube and Facebook

WATCH: Allergic To Walnuts...ON FACEBOOK

WATCH: Allergic To Walnuts...ON YOU TUBE


August  13:00pm
Allergic To Walnuts

August 20, 3:00pm
Spec. Event: America Adjacent

August 27, 3:00pm
Between Portland and Philly
- 5th installment of "Benton Way"

*Schedule and artists subject to change

Media

Los Angeles Times Feature

Call it pandemic theater: These plays are set amid the coronavirus quarantine

LA Times feature: Call it pandemic theater

By Ashley Lee, Staff Writer
April 2, 2020, 9:40 AM

“OK, let’s do this,” said Poonam Basu to Clayton Farris. It’s the opening lines in “Our First Honest Conversation,” a one-act play in which an estranged couple attempts to reignite a sexual spark using only words.

But this staging of the dramedy was different. Playwright Christine Hamilton-Schmidt had tweaked a few lines of the script — originally set within a single room — to take place on a video call. Because of the novel coronavirus, the man and woman in the story were sheltering in place separately and therefore even more desperate to reconnect.

“It’s still the same two characters with the same relationship problems,” director Victoria Pearlman told The Times. “But the piece was slightly adjusted to speak to the immense change that’s happened in the last month, and the situation we’re all in.”

Skylight Theatre, a Los Angeles theater company that prioritizes social issues, unveiled the newly revised version online last week with the maximum 100 socially distanced viewers streaming the show live on Zoom. It kicked off weekly plays from its writers lab set amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the series will continue until Skylight can open its doors again.

The company has since switched to YouTube and Facebook to accommodate an unlimited number of viewers. Each piece is available live and on demand free of charge, and all cast and crew are volunteering.

“This is a really tough time, and we don’t know when it’s going to end,” said Gary Grossman, producing artistic director of Skylight Theatre. “But actors need to act, writers need to write, directors need to direct, and theaters need to keep doing what we do. This is about staying in touch with our community and saying, ‘We’re gonna be together again soon.’

[VIDEO: OUR FIRST HONEST CONVERSATION]

These quarantine-set scripts aren’t as depressing as the real-life situations that have inspired them. “Benton Way,” streaming Thursday at 3 p.m., follows two businessmen (played by Adam Ballard and Adam Lebowitz-Lockard) who catch each other’s eye during a company conference call. Since they can’t get to know each other in person, they try to do so in isolation.

“It’s almost like falling in love with someone over written letters, the way people did in the 19th century,” said Tony Abatemarco, Skylight’s co-artistic director, who wrote the romantic comedy with Michael Kearns. He found it therapeutic to develop characters who are as concerned about the pandemic and practicing social distancing as he is.

“All of the factual developments, day by day, are already present in every conversation I have,” said Abatemarco. “But there’s a desire to keep normalcy in place, to share a joke or a funny observation of being trapped in the house for weeks.”

Likewise, playwrights participating in 24 Hour Plays’ “Viral Monologues” series — which uploaded its latest batch of soliloquies to Instagram on Tuesday — are setting their texts amid the spread of the coronavirus, explicitly or otherwise, even though no one was asked to do so. (Methuen Drama will publish these writings as a book, edited by Howard Sherman, who inspired the solo series.)

“The playwrights are never given any kind of specific prompt, but since our work is being seen the same day it’s being created, it usually can’t help but be about whatever is happening in the world because it’s already on everybody’s mind,” said artistic director Mark Armstrong, referring to previous 24 Hour Plays events with pieces about the Sept. 11 attacks, Hurricane Sandy and the 2016 presidential election.

Pandemic-set plays were bound to happen sooner or later, and it’s so close to home. Numerous members of the theater community have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Tom Hanks, Aaron Tveit, Daniel Dae Kim, Laura Bell Bundy and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The disease took the lives of Terrence McNally and Adam Schlesinger.

“In the few weeks we’ve been doing this, it has moved from an abstraction of numbers to actual people who have it, who are struggling and who have passed away,” he explained. “Some plays are about it directly, or in an oblique way. Others don’t even mention it — the moment we’re in is just an element in the room, and the fact that they’re performed in isolation creates that sense of aloneness that many of us have right now.”

A few playwrights have turned to humor. Mario Correa had Derrick Baskin attempt to bluntly woo back an ex, and Harrison David Rivers, who had Russell G. Jones demonstrate how best to steal toilet paper rolls.

[IMAGE OMITTED]

But the global situation has become a personal one for Will Arbery. The “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” playwright, who has had asthma all his life and inherited the condition from his father, wrote a piece about a parent trying to console a child struggling to breathe in the middle of the night.

“I had been hunkering down for a week in panic and anxiety and despair, about breath and how frail our human bodies actually are,” Arbery told The Times from Brooklyn.

“I’ve since pulled myself out of that dark place and am trying to find opportunities for hope. This felt like a way to tap into some of what I was feeling, and hopefully reach people who were feeling the same things and help them feel less alone.”

Michael Shannon performed the intimate seven-minute monologue to his character’s off-screen kin, the camera positioned to shoot upward as if the viewer were sitting with them both.

Though the coronavirus has halted nearly the entire theater industry, it’s also inspiring some of its artists. “Theater is so up in the air right now, we don’t know what next season will look like, or what will happen to all the shows that were postponed because of it,” Arbery said.

“I guess it’s just a compulsion — I can’t help but try to make something beautiful out of what’s going on.”

Original music for Skylight Live by Michael Teoli
Technical Advisor and Stage Manager for Skylight Live: Garrett Crouch
- Supported in part by the DCA City of Los Angeles

Skylight Theatre Company, 1816 ½ N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
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