New audio play brings classic Shakespeare performance to life in the COVID-19 era

When the COVID-19 crisis forced a Shakespeare theater company in Jersey City to cancel its live performances, the group turned to technology to bring a classic play to audiences.

News 12 Staff

Jul 1, 2020, 1:40 AM

Updated 1,383 days ago

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When the COVID-19 crisis forced a Shakespeare theater company in Jersey City to cancel its live performances, the group turned to technology to bring a classic play to audiences.
It was a passion for Shakespeare that brought a cast of 12 actors together for an audio performance of “Richard II.”
“This project happened across the pond, in our living rooms, in our attics, in our spare rooms with duvets and cushions and microphones,” says actor Jamie Ballard.Ballard, a veteran of Shakespeare productions, plays the title role in the play – a drama about the deposed king.
The performance was recorded as an audio play by Jersey City-based Shakespeare@. The group launched last year to perform Shakespeare in various venues around Hudson County.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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“I’ve always been fascinated with radio plays,” says director Sean Hagerty.
Hagerty says that when live shows were canceled, he decided to record a play for steaming online, calling it Shakespeare @ Home. Actors were brought in from all across the United States and abroad.
“We had an actor in L.A. We had actors in the New York and New Jersey area and across the U.K.,” Hagerty says.
Ballard, who is starring as Harry Potter in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in London, says that with shows paused because of the virus, the audio play was a rare chance to perform.
“It brought, to me especially and the rest of the team, an amazing sense of positivity and creativity,” he says.
More information about the audio play can be found on the Shakespeare@ website.
 


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