Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic closed all theaters, Joshua William Gelb transformed a 2’ x 4’ x 8’ closet inside his East Village apartment into a white-box theater. Starting on March 30, Gelb and his collaborators began releasing pre-recorded studies in movement, clown, camera orientation, and perspective, building towards more complex theatrical experiences. On April 23, they premiered Theater in Quarantine’s first live-stream performance: an adaptation of Kafka’s The Neighbor which was followed by an unauthorized edit of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and collaborations with artists like Scott R. Sheppard (Underground Railroad Game), Nehemiah Luckett (Jazz Singer), and Ellen Winter (36 Questions).
Theater in Quarantine’s productions of The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy and Footnote for the End of Time were met with critical acclaim. Jesse Green in his New York Times critic’s pick review declared that Theater in Quarantine has produced “some of the new medium’s most imaginative work from some of its simplest materials.” Helen Shaw in Vulture wrote that Theater in Quarantine “makes confinement a virtue, a prompt to imagination.” Maya Phillips in The New York Times noted, “These small-scale, digitally savvy productions have matched the texts in their idiosyncratic approaches.”
Theater in Quarantine’s first musical, I Am Sending You the Sacred Face, by Obie award-winner Heather Cristian was one of Vulture‘s Best Theater Moments of 2020. Helen Shaw found it “as beautiful a cause for meditation as anything in the Book of Psalms — and as worthy an object for devotion.” Jesse Green in his New York Times critic’s pick review noted, “Theater in Quarantine turns the constraints of its odd conditions into a marvelous style.”
Additional works include Mute Swan by Pulitzer-prize finalist Madeleine George and Blood Meal by and Obie award-winner Scott R. Sheppard.
The complete archive of original works by Theater in Quarantine is available for free at www.youtube.com/theaterinquarantine. Please visit www.theaterinquarantine.com for more information.
Theater in Quarantine’s work is generously supported by a Creative Residency with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, as participants in LaMaMa and CultureHub’s Experiments in Digital Storytelling program, the Mental Insight Foundation, and by their many individual donors.