by Lorie Lewis Ham
As the arts community continues to look for creative ways to share their talents in a Covid world, many theatre companies are turning more and more to streaming shows. On October 29 through 31 the Selma Arts Center will be streaming a new show with a Halloween setting called Captain Louie. We spoke with the show’s director/choreographer Michael C. Flores to learn more.
KRL: How did SAC end up deciding to do a virtual show?
Michael: It was a possible idea for a while, but we didn’t know what would be doable. As guidelines for filming/streaming started to roll out, the possibilities of what we could do became clearer, so I pitched the idea and here we are! I am very grateful for Nicolette, Erik and the Selma Arts Council for giving me the platform to do something creative and safely.
KRL: Why did you pick Captain Louie?
Michael: Captain Louie premiered off Broadway around 2009. It is a heartwarming show with music written by Stephen Shwartz, that centers around a little boy saddened to have moved away from his old neighborhood, and who finds hope when he escapes in his imagination back to his old house on Halloween night. Even though the production is a children’s show, it still has themes of loss, friendship and most relevantly, adapting to a new situation and finding the beauty in change. I think this is something that many of us older, or younger, will resonate with.
KRL: Is it a show originally written to be performed on stage or did you have to adapt it for being virtual?
Michael: The show is originally to be a staged production, which is essentially what we’re doing. The audience will just get to experience it from the comfort of their homes, which I think has its perks. Even though we are filming the stage version and streaming, we will get to be more cinematic with filming and editing than ever before. I am excited to create cinematic moments you probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise and with the help of our videographer, Kyle Lowe.
KRL: Is this a Halloween show?
Michael: Absolutely, the show takes place on Halloween night, there’s fun spooky musical numbers with quirky choreography and fun costumes. I think it will be exciting to see on screen!
KRL: How did you go about casting it – in person or on video?
Michael: Since the process of this project was fast and the show is also a fundraising opportunity for the Selma Arts Center, I precast the show. Hopefully, this paves a way for more streamed shows in the future with open auditions.
KRL: Is the show filmed with you all together or separately and then put together?
Michael: The cast is very small, so we are able to film together with masks.
KRL: If together, what have you had to do to ensure everyone’s safety?
Michael: When we are together, we are in masks the entire time and this is strictly enforced in the building. The cast and crew also get their temperatures checked before entering the building and we enforce handwashing every hour. The cast will also perform in masks for the actual show.
KRL: What has the filming process been like -or will be like if you haven’t done it yet?
Michael: The filming process will be done prior to the release of streaming so that way the show can be edited. Luckily, we’ve rehearsed it in a way that should make the entire film process fairly easy. The show is about 45 – 50 minutes, so thankfully we’re able to think more in detail with the filming process considering it’s a shorter show.
KRL: Did SAC have to purchase special equipment to film this or were you able to use existing equipment?
Michael: SAC typically goes through Kyle Lowe, who is a skilled videographer/editor based in the Central Valley, he has his own equipment that he uses.
KRL: What special challenges have you faced?
Michael: I think the main challenge has been dancing and singing, in a mask. It’s definitely not the easiest thing to do, but we’ve managed. I can honestly say that each cast member is a pro at it by now. Of course, there’s no denying it feels odd to have half your face covered while acting, but I think we’ve made it work and doesn’t hinder the actor’s performance.
KRL: That’s great! When and how will the show be available for viewing?
Michael: The show is rated G and available to stream October 29-31 at 7 p.m.
KRL: How much are the tickets and how do you purchase them?
Michael: Tickets are $15 and you can purchase them at www.selmaartscenter.com. You will then be sent a link that will be live promptly at 7pm for the performance date of your choosing.
KRL: Are there limited tickets?
Michael: Nope! Buy your tickets!
KRL: Anything else that you would like to share?
Michael: I am truly inspired by our community and the willingness to keep the arts alive during this time. Every zoom reading, backyard reading and other amazing things happening are nothing short of inspirational to me and many of us who have felt a sense of hopelessness right now. The crew, actors and I, have put our hearts into making this something special. We hope you get the chance to escape with us for a little while and experience this heartwarming show.
KRL: Are there plans to do more shows like this?
Michael: I think SAC is definitely hoping to!
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors–many of whom you will have seen on local stages. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean. A new episode goes up next week!
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