Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Adirondack Theatre Fest to launch new virtual made-for-Zoom ‘experiences’

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Thinking out of the box got Adirondack Theatre Festival producing artistic director Chad Rabinovitz “thinking In the box,” he says.

The result is a new six-month series of virtual theatrical events. They will be created in conjunction with Mr. Rabinovitz’s second theater company, the Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana.

“The idea was to find a new way to operate,” Mr. Rabinovitz says, “creating live theatrical experiences in your home.”

Rather than streaming a recorded theater performance, “which feels like a consolation prize,” Mr. Rabinovitz said the idea is “to create content that is specifically designed for the new medium, creating a new theatrical art form specifically for Zoom.”

He said, “We will have live performers, production values at a higher quality, multiple cameras, tech and sound operators.”

Six interactive programs branded as “In the Box Entertainment” each begin with a box of supporting materials mailed to registered ticketholders.

“Come show time, you open it up and create the experience,” Mr. Rabinovitz says. Each is a ticketed event, on Zoom, with a limited roomful of participants sharing that experience in real time, he said.

One, for example, is a virtual cruise, a sort of destination-themed variety show, with live entertainment and a social director. The box might contain suntan lotion, fans, spa treatments, bingo cards for live play, or food samples, he said.

Tickets will range from $35 to $45 per event. Season tickets cost $115.

Costs will be shared by the two companies. Income will go to the “home” company of the purchaser.

Mr. Rabinovitz adds that the shows need not be limited to geographical audiences. Tickets will be available online beyond ATF and BPP, with a higher price for non “home” audiences, who will purchase through a separate portal, with revenues split between the two companies.

It’s a unique model that Mr. Rabinovitz said he hopes will garner attention from national media. He also aims to market it to other theater companies, he said.

This is in addition to the fund-raising program Adirondack Theatre Festival set up previously in lieu of its cancelled summer season. Donate any amount over $50 to receive access to a full catalogue of online clips and performances, as well as a $25 gift card to the ATF-supporting business of your choice.


The “In a Box” schedule:

  • Magic in a Box: Virtual Reality, Sept. 8-19. Featuring ATF alumni magicians Max Major and Simon Coronel.
  • Film Festival in a Box: 5th Annual Adirondack Film Festival, Oct. 15-18. This will be in addition to any in-person Film Festival that can take place also in Glens Falls, Mr. Rabinovitz said.
  • Cruise in a Box: Living Room Cruise Lines, Nov. 3-14.
  • Talent in a Box: Holiday Family Talent Show, December 10 for Bloomington and December 17 for Glens Falls — in conjunction with the Wood Theater. The show will include live audience voting.
  • Mystery in a Box: Manhunt, January 12-23 2021, puzzle-solving mystery with live plot pieces as well.
  • Paint in a Box: Painting for One, Feb. 7-20, 2021, an interactive story about a “Paint and Sip” public television access instructor whose life and TV station are both falling apart.

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