It’s an anthropological rule of thumb that culture is humanity’s chief tool of adaptation. That carries multiple meanings with one effort based just north of Mobile’s city limits.
Chickasaw Civic Theatre (CCT) launched a contest entitled “Comedies Of Varying Intelligent Degree – 19,” in which local writers were challenged to create a 10-minute comedy script in 19 hours and utilize the same closing line. The casts were given 19 hours to rehearse in a pandemic-safe manner.
The resulting shows were then recorded. They will premiere on Facebook Live and YouTube on Oct. 23 and 24 at 6 p.m. Half the shows will be presented each evening. After the premieres, they will remain viewable throughout the following week.
The contest has drawn Mobile writers such as Mark Wyatt, Scotty White, Leslie Muzingo and several others.
The acting teams — all groups who normally share COVID-safe spaces — include local favorites like Scott and Sarah Wright and Tommy Rowell; John Richards and Leslie Roberts; Chris Kern and Kat Hewitt; Sean Dudley and family; and many other popular, local theater mainstays.
Although the effort entertains patrons whose regular support has been stymied by the pandemic, it also serves as a fundraiser. Viewers can vote for their favorite show and favorite cast at $1 per vote, and 25 percent of proceeds go to the winning writer, 25 percent to the winning cast and the remaining will go to CCT.
It’s the next best thing to live theater, but without the smartphone noises and glare, coughing, crinkling candy wrappers and sotto voce commentary.
For more information, visit cctshows.com/covid-fest.
If you’re especially keen on getting into the in-person theatrical experience, there’s a particularly seasonal option. Playhouse in the Park (4851 Museum Drive) presents their Halloween anthology, “Nightmares,” for October’s final weekends.
A small cast will run through three radio show-style original plays: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Poltergeist.” The show is appropriate for ages 12 and up.
The audience will be limited to 25 percent capacity, with social distancing enforced and masks required. Costumes are encouraged for the Halloween performance.
It runs Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. Entrance is $15 per person. For more information, go to playhouseinthepark.org.
Mobile’s Alabama Contemporary Art Center has joined Birmingham’s Space One Eleven and York, Alabama’s Coleman Center for the Arts in creating The Verdant Fund to aid artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort is a partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in expanding the foundation’s Regional Regranting Program through $60,000 in emergency grants.
Emergency relief grants are for independent, professional, visual artists who make some or all of their living from their art practice and have lost income as a result of the pandemic. The grants are intended to pay for essentials like groceries, rent, child care and medicine.
Applications are open through Oct. 30. Applications are only accepted online at verdantfund.org/emergency-grants.
Since I mentioned the name Warhol, this comes to mind. When art historian David E. Brauer died in mid-September, it added significance to the Mobile Museum of Art’s (MMoA) current exhibition of works curated from his sizable collection.
MMoA wants to assemble a modest publication about the exhibition and is soliciting funds toward that end. If the $20,000 goal isn’t met before the exhibition’s February 2021 conclusion, funds will be returned.
Many of Brauer’s colleagues and students have sent remembrances to MMoA Director Deborah Velders. She said a California-based writer is also developing something about his varied travels with Brauer.
I was lucky to spend an afternoon with Brauer during his February 2020 visit. We noshed on Middle Eastern fare and digested a wide-ranging conversation about varied creative mediums, culture and the space program.
His youth at the epicenter of the burgeoning British Pop Art scene was clarified while wandering with him through his exhibit. Most literally, it was in Gerald Laing’s handwritten dedication on a print of his “Anna Karina”: “To David, because you were there.”
We sat for nearly a half-hour watching old BBC footage of his youthful compatriots such as Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips. He chuckled and pointed out why they were all taken with entrancing trailblazer Pauline Boty. It was a humanizing and yet awing experience.
I was amused to point out a Velvet Underground backing track after he professed his oblivion. They were his generation’s titans but even I knew their impact.
Those wishing to donate can call Mary Beth Lursen, membership coordinator, at 251-208-5234, or go to mobilemuseumofart.com.
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