Attic Productions presents ‘The Angel of Brooklyn’

Wyatt Ewell (left) stars opposite Skylar Gay in the two-person production. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]

The show must go on! Attic Productions presents ZOOM Theatre and the first offering is “The Angel of Brooklyn,” written by Dwayne Yancey and directed by Sally Miller.

This original one-act play is part of Attic Productions ZOOM Theatre 2020. The story centers on Bud, a retiree who vowed as a pre-teen to never watch baseball again after the Dodgers moved to LA. Bud still harbors resentment and is adamant about remaining true to his vow, but an angel arrives to release him from his promise.

Dwayne Yancey is a local playwright and Editorial Page Editor of The Roanoke Times.

The director, Sally Miller, is a retired English/theatre arts teacher who enjoys acting and directing.

“As soon as I read ‘The Angel of Brooklyn’ as a member of the Attic play selection committee, I knew it would be a perfect play to ZOOM. I could already picture how I wanted to portray the scene, all the way down to nurse Angie taking Bud’s blood pressure,” she said. “I insisted that the actors memorize their lines so we could do it as an actual performance and not just a reading. We rehearsed twice a week to give them the time they needed.

“The description of the baseball game was nearly two pages long, so I felt like we needed to break it up to add visual interest. Doing it as a shared PowerPoint was our film production manager, Teresa Killen’s, suggestion after I shared the photos I had accumulated,” Miller said.

The film producer, Teresa Killen, does 3-D modeling and animation and virtual reality development.

“I enjoyed helping with the ZOOM production of ‘The Angel of Brooklyn’ immensely. It is such a difficult time to navigate in theater, and I was thankful for my past work with video editing and 3D modeling to help in the project. I decided to model the letters for the credits in a 3D program I work in and render them to give them a bit more depth than a typed font,” Killen said.

The two-person cast features Bud, performed by Wyatt Ewell, a veteran actor and director, also president of the board of directors at Attic Productions. Angie is portrayed by Skylar Gay, who has been performing at Attic since she was a little girl. She is a dual-enrollment student at Virginia Western Community College

“Performing in a virtual production was very different than performing onstage. To prepare for roles, I often rehearse lines by myself, in imaginary dialogs with other actors,” Ewell said. “This virtual production reminded me of rehearsing solo, or perhaps how it might feel to be filmed while making a telephone call.  But given the circumstances, this production was worthwhile nevertheless.

“Skylar and I found it amusing that although we had finally performed together in a production, we never even saw each other face-to-face! The two of us had to constantly focus on how we appeared onscreen, rather than actually communicating by making eye contact and reading body language.  Even after multiple rehearsals, I wasn’t very successful at keeping my left hand onscreen,” Ewell said.

Skylar Gay said, “The Angel of Brooklyn is an absolute joy to watch! Sally Miller’s vision for this show truly came to life via ZOOM. As an actor, it was a difficult transition from the stage to my kitchen table but working with Wyatt, Sally, and Teresa made it worthwhile.”

“Going into this show, I knew nothing about baseball, but Dwayne Yancey’s play made it easy to understand the sports lingo and makes this play suitable for sports fans and novices alike,” she said.

The video link is on the Attic website: Attic asks that you consider making a donation to Attic Productions, should you and your family or friends decide to view it. There is a donate button for your convenience. Running time is 40 minutes.

This play has been previously produced by Hovey Players, Summer Arts Festival, Waltham, Mass., July, 2005, and as a staged reading at Studio Roanoke, Roanoke, April 2009, as a radio play by Falcon Radio Theatre, Seattle, Wash., January 2013.

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