Open Book Theatre’s newest One to One Virtual Theatre, Love Space, will feel familiar to Trekkies and other sci-fi fans as it borrows and riffs on a lot of the genre’s tropes. But it goes deeper, too.
Playwright Joe Zarrow said “It’s about finding love and connection despite barriers of space and time.” Although the play is not at all about COVID, it was inspired by the struggles and isolation we are all facing.
Director K Edmonds agrees. She hopes that audiences will get a “much needed break from the drudgery of living through this pandemic,” and feel a “connection, a real connection, with another living, breathing human. Although behind a machine there is still an opportunity, a small moment for us to just breathe and be together, virtually.”
“It’s exciting to play in this fresh Zoom format. I tried to play with as many extremely-low-budget special effects as possible,” explained Zarrow, whose script calls for Zoom backgrounds and shaky camera work. The fun, sci-fi inspired elements, however, still leave room for a deeper story. “I tend to write big fun comedies that assume a lot of vocal audience response, hopefully laughter. Writing for Zoom, all of that audience feedback is silenced. Instead, the moments that tend to shine are the quiet ones. Zoom is, ironically, quite an intimate format — the performers are right in front of you, speaking in a conversational tone instead of projecting to the back row of seats.”
Captain Talosi is played by Jeremy Kucharek, who says “A few years ago, I fell in love with a certain beloved episodic space drama starring Mr. Patrick Stewart. There was something so peaceful and hypnotic about their journey throughout the cosmos. With every episode, I tuned in and tuned out, forgetting about the chaotic dramas of our planet, and fixing on the otherworldly journey of the Starship Enterprise.” He says that getting to work on this play is “a treat to escape the closing in of my own four walls and launch into the control room of the Starship Hieronymus. I hope everyone enjoys traversing about the mind of Mr. Joe Zarrow as much as I have – he has such a brilliant way of creating colorful worlds not so very far from our own”
Kucharek was last seen on stage at Open Book as Mr. Darcy in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.
Zarrow and Edmonds have both appeared at Open Book as well (in The Watson Intelligence and Good People, respectively).
Love Space is the fifth offering in Open Book’s 6 show season of One to One Virtual Theatre. Edmonds said “Continuing our theatre work on Zoom excites me! When the pandemic hit last March I thought to myself, “This is the end of theatre.” Shame on me and my pessimistic view! Theatres like Open Book have remained dedicated to bringing this essential work to humanity when it’s most needed, giving me and others hope that we are not only surviving the pandemic but thriving in it! Helping to pioneer the future of the theatre industry is the most exciting part of all!” Kucharek agrees. “I would like to think that Love Space might break the monotony of binge-streaming and add some desperately needed local creativity to our lives. While we may all be confined to our homes, we are still surrounded by a larger creative collective going through this together.”
Love Space opens February 4th, and runs Thursday and Monday evenings through February 22nd. Tickets are $20. Audience members purchase a ticket for a 10 minute time slot and receive a Zoom link to log in. They are greeted by a virtual house manager who makes sure everything is working properly, and then the show begins.
More information about Love Space, as well as Open Book’s other offerings, can be found on their website, openbooktc.com.