Linccoln Academy’s Poe Theater, where Heartwood Artistic Director and LA theater director Griff Braley will direct a series of safely-distanced live-streamed one act plays this fall.

Lincoln Academy students have embarked on a season of one act plays to continue building theater skills and entertaining audiences during the first trimester. With singing and dancing not allowed, the theater department will work with smaller groups of students in innovative productions that can be live streamed from the Poe Theater. Since August, the theater has been reconfigured for a combination of acting and film, with various backdrops, projection surfaces, greenscreens, etc. available to aid in production concepts that will be new to both young actors and their audiences.

The season will begin with a fright filled late October production of thriller and gothic tales. A student ensemble will adapt a collection of short stories including Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game, along with three by Edgar Allen Poe: The Cask of Amontillado, William Wilson, and Masque of the Red Death. Students Ben Schwink, Marcus Russano, Aiden Jacobs, Harrison Pierpan, Ada Tholen, Mitchell Straus, Sepp Zammuto, Connor Parson, Jackson Ross and Liam Allen will act as creatives and as storytellers and actors in the making of the production. The visual experience for audience members should be reminiscent of 50s and 60s television or B-grade films. Think Vincent Price, the Batman television series, Dark Shadows, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. Using the Poe as part film stage and part theater, this adventure will include lots of areas of learning the history of black and white film, the “total effect” made famous by Poe, and specific acting techniques specific to the thriller, mystery and gothic genres.

At the end of the trimester in November, audiences can again join via livestream to watch an evening of two one act plays. The Tailor tells a poignant tale about a poor fellow trying to please his customers, his wife, his three daughters, his rich neighbors and the local match maker with his very limited resources. This heartwarming piece will feature Ben Schwink (Moishe), Benno Hennig (Rasja), Harrison Pierpan (Meyna), Olivia Hardina (Pearl), Honora Bootby (Annika), Caeli Fletcher (Sonja) and Margo Fairfield (Nina). Music, lights, projected backdrops, and some costumes will complete the look and feel of this production.

The second play in the two part evening will feature a one act adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. Edmund Rostand’s epic play from 1897, in a short adaptation, will allow students to take on a classical piece, on a scale just right for the current limitations. The one act version keeps nearly all of the colorful characters of the original, with an emphasis on language, love and perseverance. (A little less on sword fighting, alas!) The cast for Cyrano includes Aidan Jacobs (Cyrano), Honora Boothby (Roxanne), Harrison Pierpan (Christian), Rebecca Tomasello (Sister Martha), Alicia Flis (Mother Margaret), Callie Stapp (Sister Claire), Kendra Gladu (Duenna), Marcus Russano (Le Bret), Logan Heath (The Cavalier), Liam Allen (The Boor), Mitchell Straus ((Rageneau), Issac Powell and Jason Long as Soldiers.

Heartwood Theater continues the tradition of collaboration with Lincoln Academy for a 17th year, including hiring former LA Grad and Heartwood Tech Director Ryan Khonert to work with students and members of the intern program to carry out set, light, projection and streaming activities.

According to Director Griff Braley, “things are obviously challenging this year. In any case, we hope to learn, create and honor the art of theater with our work. We’ll try to combine a flexible attitude with a strong work ethic, to take a run at producing these pieces . . . with more to come later in the year. After fifteen years at Lincoln, I’m very proud of the students who have chosen to work through the unknowns and stay the course, even knowing we cannot see audiences face to face for some time.”

Specific times, dates and more information about online reservations/viewing will be available by mid- October.