Every year, Blanka Zizka’s Wilma Theatre welcomes performers and audiences to celebrate her brand of the avant-garde, while occasionally announcing and previewing the theater’s next season with a Fête. Often in tandem with John Jarboe’s Bearded Ladies, the Fête in a tasteful, in person and up close ravishment where everyone drinks, watches, interacts, donates, and goes home.
This year, in announcing the 2020-21 season, as well as celebrating its new cohort… everyone is already home. So drinks are on the house, literally. Because this year isn’t like every other year. This is COVID-19 year, which means that Sunday, May 3’s Fête 2020, starting at 5:30 is online and virtual. This year’s Fête 2020 is also like no other as it welcomes Zizka’s new, fellow co-artistic directors to the fold James Ijames, Morgan Green and Yury Urnov. Along with finding a new host and headliner in the ever-delightful and monumental talented Martha Graham Cracker, many of the Wilma’s favorite HotHouse Company actors – Zizka’s on-going performance company – will also be performing. That means Justin Jain, Sarah Glicko, Keith Conallen, Melanye Finister and more.
The Fête is the Wilma’s annual celebration of its work, and its biggest fundraiser of the year. They’re continuing to pay its artists, educators, and educators during this hiatus. All proceeds from this year’s Fete will go towards supporting Wilma artists, teachers, and staff during this time.
This special online Fête will also feature a post-show dance party and a chance to mingle with the artists in a special post-show Zoom Room.
“This year’s Fete will be as entertaining, surprising, and celebratory as ever – just on your screen instead of onstage,” said Kellie Mecleary, the Producing Director at the Wilma Theater.
“We are experimenting with making work while isolated in our homes, and, in collaboration with the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, have come up with some neat treats for you all. It’ll be a little shorter than past Fetes, but no less fun.”
The keyword there is ‘experimenting.” For what is the Wilma without testing and pushing the boundaries.
So what will this Fete 2020 look like, away from the Wilma’s stages?
“In terms of look and feel: it’ll be a mix of home-made and high quality. Saturday Night at Live from home meets NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert meets Wilma avant-garde flare,” says Mecleary.
“We were always planning on celebrating the cohort, and always planning on featuring Martha. We decided to add the element of announcing our season as a result of Covid-19 (we were planning to announce earlier, but the pandemic slowed processes down for a minute). But it’s a completely different medium than a live event, so we had to rethink everything from order of events, to length, to rhythm, to tone. There are new limitations and new opportunities that come with a virtual event. For example, we decided to “stage” scenes from each play we’ll produce next season over Zoom, and each director used the medium differently, finding unique ways to utilize the tool. We can’t all hang out and mingle before and after the main presentation, and I think we’ll all miss that part very much. But we’re going to have a virtual dance party and lounge after, so we can still connect.”
Buy tickets here or call (267) 433-8137.