Theater Review: ‘In-Zoom’

By: 
Ben Miles

Bill Irwin, the two-time Tony Award-winning actor (“Fool Moon,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and accomplished clown performer, has adjusted his live audience art form to the era of the 21st century pandemic. How? Through a modality that has become ubiquitous since the ill winds of the coronavirus has brought much of the world into a state of lockdown.

In collaboration with fellow thespian Christopher Fitzgerald (a Broadway actor who’s had major roles in “Young Frankenstein,” “Waitress,” and “Wicked”), Mr. Irwin has cleverly created a 10-minute play wherein live performers can approximate what they do, but instead of actors working eye-to-eye and face-to-face with audiences sitting side-by-side, and in the flesh—the process takes place over Zoom (which offers quality video, audio, and wireless screen-sharing across Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Zoom Rooms, and H. 323/SIP room systems). Appropriately enough, the 10-minute theatrical ditty is titled “In-Zoom.”

Questions such as where to look, how performers can believably interact, how to deal with or be with Zoom glitches such as images and audio “freezing” on screen—as well as inventive techniques such as recreating a fist bump and developing credible dramatic interactions between actors are explored in a fast and fun manner “In-Zoom,” which had its world premiere in collaboration with San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre on Thursday, May 14.

The rubber-face of Irwin, as Performer A, is a delight to see; his clownish expression translate well over Zoom. Equally satisfying is the artistic commitment of Fitzgerald, as Performer B displays throughout this 10-minute theatrical experiment.

“In-Zoom” will be playing on YouTube for an indefinite period. More information can be found by visiting old globe.org. Watch on YouTube: www.youtube.com/theoldglobe. Or watch on our website: www.theoldglobe.org/in-zoom-thursday

ben@beachcomber.news

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