George Street Playhouse to stream historical play ‘Conscience’ as it plans reopening
A New Jersey theater is picking up where it left off before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The play “Conscience” was barely one week into its run when the pandemic forced all theaters to shut down.
“During the first act, I think, the news broke that Broadway was going to shut down. And I think we all thought, ‘What’s the ripple effect?’” says Tony Award winner Harriet Harris.
Harris will be rejoining her castmates seven months later virtually for a performance recorded on Zoom. It will be streamed by the George Street Playhouse.
“Conscience” is a historical drama surrounding a pivotal 1950 speech against McCarthyism by Republican United States Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. Harris is portraying Smith in the play.
“She did go against her party. She went against everybody. Nobody wanted her to go after Joe McCarthy,” Harris says.
The streamed performance is another step as the George Street Playhouse – a nonprofit group – looks toward reopening.
“I’m hopeful by the end of January we can open,” says artistic director David Saint. “We have taken great precautions to open with just 25% capacity of the house.”
Saint says that he hopes to stage a one-actor comedy for a live and virtual audience.
"One of the great things about live theatre, it's the biochemical reaction of all of these people sitting in the same room hearing and watching this performance at the same time and the spontaneity of it,” he says.