Immediate Theatre Project closed, along with theatres worldwide, in March. But this December, the company reunites with NC Stage to present a newly re-worked version of their holiday stalwart It’s A Wonderful Life live for a three-week run via Zoom.
Immediate Theatre Project has presented their own original radio version of It’s A Wonderful Life each year since 2009. “We knew that as a company with an ‘audio only’ arm, we were well positioned to come up with some innovative, Zoom-friendly programming,” said company co-founder Willie Repoley. “One thing we all agreed on right away was that we wanted to perform live, not ask audiences to watch a pre-recorded performance.”
Repoley has re-imagined the framing device for the story, which the company usually presents as live 1940s radio broadcast that is forced to present It’s A Wonderful Life with a skeleton crew because of a winter storm.
“That just wasn’t going to work on Zoom,” Repoley admits. “The 1940’s radio story just doesn’t feel relevant when we’re online. And just telling George Bailey’s story online wasn’t enough, either.”
Instead, the company has created a new revision of the story that plays with audience expectations and takes advantage of the personalities of the four actors in the cast: Lauren Kriel, Tony Larkin, Maria Buchanan, and Repoley himself.
“We’re all playing versions of ourselves, and we’re put into an impossible situation, and the audience gets to see us and see how we are able to use It’s A Wonderful Life to get our own stories back on track,” said Repoley.
The production is directed by Hans Meyer and the stage manager is Jared Stover. The story itself seems more relevant than ever in 2020.
“No matter your politics, I think we can all agree that this has been a rough year,” Repoley said. “I think a story about a young man who becomes frustrated by circumstances largely outside of this control, who tries and tries to do the right thing but keeps falling short of his dreams, who is rescued from a deep despair only by prayer and the generosity of his community is exactly what we need right now. It’s a very hopeful story. It asks us to believe in our neighbors and in what we can accomplish together that we can’t do alone.”
It’s a Wonderful Life runs from Thursday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, Dec. 20, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets are on sale now. Tickets are $25 and are sold per household. They can be purchased online at ncstage.org or by calling 828-239-0263.
For more information about Immediate Theatre Project, visit www.immediatetheatre.org.