A drive-thru ‘Odyssey,’ a mystery by mail. Austin groups find ways to make theater without theaters — Sightlines

Austin’s Ground Floor Theater, which houses many independent theater groups, is currently closed to public shows.

The Vortex Theater stages Homer’s “The Odyssey” as a drive-thru performance installation at locations along Manor Road. In the meantime, the New Manifest Theater will be shooting its new game festival online, which is free for everyone.

Over six weeks, Shrewd Productions, which focuses on enhancing female voices, will unleash a new and mysterious experience through weekly letters sent through the US Post. And the all-female Heartland Theater Collective has created a radio play for live broadcast.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Austin’s independent performing arts community continues to find inventive ways to create new theater, even if it’s not a personal experience in an actual theater.

Some upcoming shows are:

  • “Letters from Camp Shrewd: An Episodic Piece in the Mail.” Camp Shrewd children are locked up and haunted by the ghosts of past campers. With an internet outage that cuts them off from the online world, they write letters to their friends and loved ones. Viewers receive six weekly letters as well as artifacts from their RV. Camper correspondence begins with a ticket that starts at $ 30. Shrewdproductions.com
  • “Passage: A New Radio Play.” The story of a group of astronauts trapped in a black hole train and forced to ask questions of love, loss and belief. 7:00 p.m. September 12. Tickets are free, donations are welcome. heartlandtheatrecollective.com
  • “Manifest Minifest: Round 2.” A live online mini-festival featuring short plays by the up-and-coming Texan playwrights “Covenant” by Kristiana Rae Colón, “Boy” by Cris Eli Blak, “Flat Chickens Don’t Lay Eggs or How the Chicken Crossed the Road” by Katie Svatek and “Maude “by Andra Laine Hunter. September 24th to 26th; Tickets are free, donations are welcome. Log in to eventbrite.com/e/manifest-minifest-round-2-a-virtual-short-play-festival-tickets-117820619645 to access the stream
  • “The Vortex Odyssey” is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Homeric epic, which was experienced as a drive-thru performance installation. The spectators see the contactless installations from their cars. The installations along Manor Road are not far from the Vortex’s home base. You need to use your smartphone to download a free app and access sound. October 1st to 10th; Tickets start at $ 125 per vehicle. Tickets & information: vortexrep.secure.force.com/ticket#/
    • For those self-isolating or remote, the drive-thru show is complemented by a virtual event. “The Vortex Odyssey: Underworld” This provides an online experience of the live event and other features. September 25 – October 10; Tickets start at $ 33, vortexrep.secure.force.com/ticket#/

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