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Bloomington's Cardinal Stage introduces at home play series



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Cardinal Stage has commissioned playwrights from across the country to create a series of short plays that can be performed at home for fun, according to its website. Courtesy Photo

Cardinal Stage has commissioned playwrights from across the country to create a series of short plays that can be performed at home for fun, according to their website. Performers have the freedom to be creativeand can do anything from a table reading to recording a video of the performance. 

Cardinal Stage plans to release a new play every month on their website through the end of 2020, possibly through the spring, Artistic Director Kate Galvin said. The plays can be accessed online with a suggested donation of $5 to $10 per play, but members can access the plays for free. 

The Cardinal at Home series is part of Cardinal Stage’s project Artistic Adventure, a collection of theatrical programs designed to bring theater to audiences in new and exciting ways, according to Cardinal’s website

The first “At Home” play, titled “Dealership,” was released this month. Playwright Michael Blomquist said "Dealership" is a silly and absurd play, which he thinks people need right now. 

“It’s very escapist,” Blomquist said. “It uses the basis of purchasing a car as the germ out of which grows this magical realism.” 

The play “Dealership” takes place at a car dealership where the staff gains power from making small talk with customers. However, Blomquist said, there is a twist.

“I don’t mean they get promotions,” Blomquist said. “They gain muscle mass, turn green and gradually sprout wings to join an army.”

Blomquist, an IU alumnus, works in Los Angeles as an assistant director coordinating talent on film sets and writes comedy for film and television. He heard about the opportunity from a friend who works for Cardinal Stage. 

“The world might stop, but artists don’t,” Blomquist said. 

Galvin got the idea for the series after listening to an interview with Maria Manuela Goyanes, artistic director at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Goyanes referenced a project titled “Play At Home” that includes a group of theater companies from around the United States that have commissioned playwrights to write shows that can be performed at home. 

“We’re trying to embrace the opportunity to tell stories in new ways,” Galvin said. 

Galvin wanted to make sure all audiences would be served over the next couple of months. Cardinal Stage serves a broad demographic, from children to adults with varied interests. 

“It sounded like a really cool, COVID- friendly idea,” Galvin said. “I thought we could curate it to meet the needs of our Cardinal audience.”

While “Dealership” is directed toward adults, the plays for September and October will be more family -friendly, Galvin said. The October show will be Halloween themed. Marcia Eppich-Harris, a playwright from Indianapolis, and Christin Cato, a student in IU’s MFA Playwriting program will be writing the next two plays.

“All of these can be done at home for fun, just sitting around the kitchen table,” Galvin said. 

Donations will help Cardinal Stage’s work this season.

The ten-minute plays can be found on Cardinal Stage’s website.

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