The Hippodrome State Theatre is set to put on a special one-night reading of “Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays On Trayvon, Race And Privilege.” The show will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Director Ryan George, 32, has been involved with the Hippodrome since 2010. In the last few years, he’s advocated for more diversity in the stories that the Hippodrome tells, as well as an expansion in the theater’s involvement in the community. He said each of the show’s four plays address injustice and inequality in communities of color from different angles.
“A lot of Black and Brown communities don’t have access to the ability to see theater or have the community reinvest money into their theater productions,” he said.
The event is free to attend, but donations will be accepted, 50% of which will be donated toward the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
George said that preparing for the show has been a learning process, trying to find ways to play off of the audience’s expectations, which are shaped by the show being performed virtually.
Elaina Walton, 30, is part of the show’s ensemble and will be performing in two of the plays, “Night Vision” and “No More Monsters Here.” She recently graduated with an MFA from the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance, and has been a part of two other productions put on through Zoom.
At first, Walton found the prospect of performing through Zoom jarring but now says that it allows her a greater focus on the actual art, as opposed to over-worrying about the audience. She also enjoys thinking of future theater students who will read back on how artists continued to create through unprecedented circumstances.
“We are pioneers, forging unknown territory, and we’re figuring out a way to make our art,” she said.
Without the intimacy of a live audience, both George and Walton are excited about connecting to their virtual audience through a talkback discussion that will take place after the show concludes. Cast, crew and local community leaders will discuss the work’s relevance to the issues of today, allowing audience members to submit questions through Zoom.
As important as the dialogue Walton hopes to start is, she said it isn’t the end goal.
“The work doesn’t end at a conversation,” she said. “You actually have to take that information and put it to good use.”
Tickets are available here.
The Hippodrome's “Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays On Trayvon, Race And Privilege" will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday.