Thinking of Her....
The second play directed by MCC Faculty, Mark Hardiman will drop on this site June 25 and will be available for viewing through July 12. MCC alum Beth Hoyt and McCook Native Rachel Gordine join a national cast with members from as far away as Portland Oregon. “Bringing together this cast for a virtual production was a real thrill,” said Hardiman. By using Google Meet, Hardiman was able to bring together a far-flung cast that highlights their talents.
Helbig contacted Hardiman in May about doing an internet version of Thinking of Her…. Which was formally produced in 2003 for Hardiman’s theatre company, Talisman Theatre. Development of the play began with a public staged reading of the play the previous year as part of an event Talisman created called Arts Infusion, an event that combined visual art, and theatre in Downtown Elgin, IL. “It was a tremendous event and Thinking of Her…. naturally fit into our vision of bringing arts into a burgeoning Downtown. It is smart, artistic and still romantic and funny,” said hardiman. Helbig felt that the play would work well in a virtual format and Hardiman agreed. “At the time of COVID, we are all rethinking theatre and keeping it alive in innovative ways,” said Hardiman who just completed collaborating with fellow faculty Rick Johnson on a virtual art display for the window former florist shop in the Keystone building.
The process was infused with the nature of technology and the talent of the folks involved. Working digitally on shared documents the play evolved from its earlier form to a more immediate iteration that reflects the complexity of today’s personal relationships. Script changes evolved rapidly with everyone virtually on the same page. “...we were able to change things in real time and play with them to see if we liked them,” said Rachel Gordine who plays Woman in the piece. Using Google Meet and recording the performance lend itself well to the nature of the piece. In the play, the characters are thinking, reworking their thoughts about their relationships. “When we played back the Meet recording, each character is seen solo. “Yet their combined performances have a kind of connection you can only get in the theatre as they flow from one actor to another. Relationships are potentially infinitely more complex now. Add to that internet, cell phones and we all are caught thinking and talking in great volumes which creates a kind of static. We literally can’t hear ourselves think, let alone anyone else speak. There is a beautiful noise of reaching and trying to connect that often misses, poingently and sometimes humorously. Helbig's poetic writing reflects this beautifully.” concludes Hardiman.