Actors of every stripe – professional, volunteer, and in-between – have made the Variations Project a highlight of Baltimore’s theatrical landscape each year since 2005. Rapid Lemon Productions is getting ready to open the 2020 version, “Variations on Vision” (get it?), which will stream online this month. We caught up with a few of the show’s ensemble members to talk about their experience.
How long have you been involved with the Variations Project? What initially attracted you to it?
This is my third year! One year as a Staged Reading ensemble member, two years as a Production ensemble member – and last season I also had a show in the production.
There are lots of ten-minute play festivals nowadays. How is Variations
The scripts chosen for Variations stand out. The stories tell completely different human narratives – women, friendship, mental health, race, emotion, relationships, immigration – it’s relevant and diverse. Also, the stories are challenging for actors to tell because a lot of the scripts are cryptic. The meanings of the plays are wrapped in a lot of intricate language. Then some plays are simply people talking on a night out. You get the human experience out of both and I appreciate Rapid Lemon Productions taking that leap with choosing some plays that aren’t so conventional, obvious and easy to understand compared to other play festivals.
What else have you done that Maryland audiences might have seen earlier this year?
I Directed Rapid Lemon’s 2020 Season opener “Give Me Moonlight”. I have also been seen in RLP’s Last 3 productions (“Variations on Myth”, “Proxy”, “Crusade”), Vagabond Players’ “12 Angry Jurors” and Coppin State University’s “A Raisin In The Sun”. Included in my recent credits are a plethora of acting competitions, commercial appearances, and online shows.
Any future projects?
Hopefully, in 2021 a production with Arena Players of a two-woman show about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as well as the Baltimore Rock Opera Society’s production “Glitterus Rising.” I love a complete shift of character.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work, both on this project and in general?
Covid has been super stressful, anxiety provoking, and altogether a nuisance. It has been hard trying to find a new normal and for a theater-maker whose whole world revolves around casts and theater patrons… it’s just sad and weird. There is nothing like the live feedback of an audience on opening night and we don’t get that over Zoom or a video monitor. But we will survive because that’s what we do.
The producers of “Variations on Vision” have exercised thoughtful care in minimizing risk of exposure for cast and crew during the pandemic. The seven weeks of submission readings, as well as all but two of the production’s rehearsals, were held over Zoom. For the two in-person rehearsals, attendance was tightly restricted: only people with recent negative Covid test results were admitted, and all present were masked at all times. Cast and crew will be isolated at home for all performances, which are free to viewers, thanks to a generous co-sponsorship by Motor House. Registration and a full streaming schedule are available here.
Donations to our venue partner, Motor House Baltimore, are encouraged and appreciated! Click here.