APT reading of Shaw's 'Arms and the Man' feels fresh

Posted June 30, 2020

Arms Cap Times

Lindsay Christians | The Capital Times | June 26, 2020

George Bernard Shaw, meet TikTok.

Even those who aren’t on the teen-friendly video app may have seen the meme where people “pass” an item — a soccer ball, a brush, a Frisbee — from screen to screen. Drop the brush off screen in one video and it appears at the top of the next, like a virtual flip-book.

This is exactly what it looks like when American Players Theatre actors pass a coat or a piece of chocolate from screen to screen in the new online play reading of “Arms and the Man.” The performance goes live on PBS Wisconsin tonight at 7 p.m. and will be available to watch for free through July 26.

“Arms and the Man” premiered in 1894 and was last produced by APT in 2006. For these readings, the actors have the video conferencing app on one side of their screen and the script on the other, with ring lights to illuminate their faces.

With all of this, Brown is able to create a surprising number of theatrical illusions. Melisa Pereyra blows out a candle and the lights dim around her. Gunshots sound from “offstage,” thanks to the work of stage manager Jacqueline Singleton. And that passing-the-coat trick works surprisingly well.

The action of “Arms and the Man” begins when a mercenary soldier (Nate Burger) climbs through the bedroom window of a wealthy young Bulgarian woman (Pereyra).

Read the rest of the review here.