Theater, at its core, is about human connection – something we’re all longing for in this time of Covid-19 driven isolation. In Long Distance Affair, a Zoom-powered, continent-hopping theater production which runs through Saturday May 30, PopUP Theatrics and Miami’s Juggerknot Theatre Co. present a captivatingly original way to use the now-ubiquitous online meeting platform to link one soul to another. This isn’t a virtual substitute for theater lovers. It’s a new kind of theatrical intimacy.
As the global lockdown has shut down live performances of theater, dance and music, artists and troupes have mostly responded by posting videos of past shows, or recording new ones in performers’ homes or outdoor spaces. But Long Distance Affair, instead of shrinking the live experience onto the small screen, creates a virtual platform that expands the possibilities of theater. When it works, Long Distance Affair has the giddily unnerving quality of something genuinely new.
I’ll try to explain the rather complicated set-up as simply as possible. The show takes place nightly from 7 to 9pm EST, with solo actors performing ten minute scripts live in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Madrid, and Singapore. The scripts have interaction written in, which can be as simple as an exchange of names – or a punchy physical workout or metaphysical discussion.