When we committed to producing Bleeding Hearts by Steve Yockey, we had no idea it would be anything other than a stage production, performed over the span of two weekends in Boise, Idaho.
However, like many of our fellow artists, we had to shift with the pandemic, leading us to create a completely digital, socially distanced production. What resulted was a film of sorts that aired on Vimeo.com for one weekend in September 2020.
This was uncharted territory for our cast and crew. Directed by Daniel Vogt, the cast met via Zoom for all rehearsals and recordings. Each actor was provided with the equipment and props needed to create believable scenes, and could hear their acting partners in a single earbud as they spoke to their walls and an audience of precariously placed technology.
The film that resulted from these efforts was met with positive feedback from everyone we heard from. Norwegian actress Maren Eikli Hiorth said, "I am in awe! Ingenious solutions to create illusions of 'here and now' with the actors in the same room. The amazing and original postcard scene really dragged me in and gave me the real theatre feels."
Boise Theater Frequency gave Bleeding Hearts a raving review and synopsis, stating:
"The details of this specific production substantially reinforce the play’s themes. Its use of separate locations for all the performers, literally and physically isolating them from one another in frames, the expert but inherently imperfect alignment of the separate scenes, the house and character interactions being literally made of flimsy paper are all eerily coherent with the text. Much as I would have liked to have seen this show in person and would obviously banish the virus that restricts our activity had I the power, I must admit that the synergy of the production’s circumstances with the play itself is an interesting and welcome quirk."
For an experimental endeavor full of restrictions, we are happy we could do justice to this incredible script and story, and we look forward to creating more digital readings in the future (hopefully alongside in-person stage performances).
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More Reviews of Bleeding Hearts:
This production by Opal Theatre proves how far #digitaltheatre can stretch to achieve the playwright’s original vision... The sincerity of these actors, the creativity of the production team, and the spirit of community was what won the day for us.
- The Young-Howze Theatre Journal
Seeing the solutions the Opal folks found to the challenges of being unable to have the audience and even the cast and crew in the same location justifies the price of admission to by itself. There’s some really cool and clever production stuff they did and I’ve not seen anything quite like it before.
- Boise Theatre Frequency
"It is so impressive, specific, funny, terrifying. The storyboarding and editing on top of the committed performance by the actors is inspiring. I know it must have been hours and hours and nights of no sleep. Congrats to this company for weathering this storm with innovation and fearlessness."
- Jessica M.
"A great example of how people are getting creative during the pandemic."
- Sarah B.
"A VERY impressive production created during quarantine. I was marveling at the effort that was put into this in the beginning with all the multiple cameras and by the end of it, I kinda forgot the actors weren't all in the same place! Wonderful job everyone!"
- Delaney K.
"This is the closest I've gotten to watching theatre since COVID hit, and I have to say the opening scene really triggered that feeling of being in the room again and it made me a little emotional. I miss it so much. Thank you, thank you for bringing that feeling back to us if only for 90 minutes."
- Caitlin S.
"I literally want to watch all plays like this. This play is so real, and offers the most well-executed version of this concept I've ever seen. It feels like a good TV show—it doesn't even feel like a play."
- Emily F.
"It was really well done. I forgot I was watching a reading. It felt like a full-blown production."
- Jayne R.
"For those of us that love theatre, the last seven months have been an exercise in craving. It is one thing to do without something that feeds your body, it is another to be without the thing that feeds your soul.
I'm so proud and inspired that Opal has taken on the task of excavating an art that is so deeply communal from a time of forced physical separation. It's quirky and imaginative. Improvised and lovingly done. The hours and pieces of themselves they've poured into this are a tender tribute to an art form that feels like it's slipping away."
- Rachel B.
"I can't say enough about how special this project was, how amazing it all turned out and how relevant it is in these times."
- Matthew Melton, "Timothy Burke" in Bleeding Hearts
"I CAN'T GET OVER how incredibly cool and artsy the postcard bit is. I literally am geeking out over how awesome of a job Opal's artistic team did with this show."
- Tristan Berg, "Griff O'Brien" in Bleeding Hearts
"I loved to watch how the connection in a scene would grow, despite our inability to see one another while we were filming. That our director was able to see how all of these disparate pieces were to fit together and get us all to set up accordingly is almost miraculous. And to stitch together not only video but audio tracks... phew! What an undertaking—and how seamlessly it all came together. A very hearty well done!"
- McKenna Kline, "Felicia Reed-Walker" in Bleeding Hearts
"The amount of sheer dedication displayed from everyone involved shows. This couldn't have been done without any of the actors, designers, and crew because they all went above and beyond.
- Sam Murphy, Production Manager of Bleeding Hearts
"This production is the bomb diggity! Danny and Tiffany are a dynamic duo who have brough their talents together to bring something amazing. The story is great too!"
- Marie W.