Public Theater’s Fall 2020 online season announced

The four month season includes world premieres, audio plays and community works based on current events.

Public Theater Fall Digital Performing

The Public Theater’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham announced works which will be performed as part of their latest season. The entire season will be available to access for free, with virtual programming including visual art, podcasts and the world premiere of a Public Works documentary.

Speaking about the season, Eustis said in a statement: “Now, more than ever, we need what the theater has to offer: hope, truth, joy, solidarity, beauty. The artists of The Public Theater have responded to the multiple crises we are facing... with courage and immense creativity… our digital content is reaching an audience across the country, and across the world, bringing free access to a larger and more diverse audience than we could have ever hoped.”

The season begins with a public forum on September 23, where America’s leading creative and community organizers will discuss how art and action can go hand in hand. This is followed by cabaret performer Kiki and Herb’s 2016 show, Kiki & Herb: Seeking Asylum!. Audiences will be able to take part in a live chat with the artists on September 24, with the political comedy available to stream from September 24 to November 5.

Inspired by the Public Theater’s 2017 musical adaptation of As You Like It, a documentary will be released charting the show’s creation, as well as the now-cancelled 2020 revival at Shakespeare in the Park. Under The Greenwood Tree will premiere on October 7, showing how communities come together through theater.

Created and performed by Samora Pinderhughes and Jack DeBoe, Venus Smiles Not in the House of Tears will receive its world premiere on October 9. The concert will explore how different genres come together to tell stories of relationships.

The New York premiere of Anne Washburn’s Shipwreck will also be broadcast as a four-part podcast. Bill Camp plays Donald Trump in a play where present-day divisions become stronger, especially around a dinner table. Shipwreck received its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre in 2019; a review for LondonTheatre.co.uk said “Washburn takes Trump on head-on, deconstructing almost every element of the President’s character, political career, and the people that vote for him.” 

On November 2, Public Forum: We The People will aim to unite communities and inspire voters, with Toshi Reagon’s post-election day concert addressing the future of America on November 4.

Other works and installations in the season include Garlia Cornelia Jones’ curated art installation, transforming the Public Theater’s exterior. Honoring the Black lives murdered by police, events from Ferguson to Baltimore will be commemorated, as 10 visual artists collaborate on the work. Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs will also host monthly workshops on the connections between poetry and theater.

Photo credit: (Courtesy of Aislinn Weldele)