DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -Matt Neal is an actor, director and performer who says he hasn’t seen stage lights in months due to COVID19
“It’s been crushing,” said Neal. “I lost a full year of work. I have not been able to work since January and it’s looking like, for the forseeable future, it’s going to be hard to get paid to do what we do”
Neal and other artists in the area were unable to sit in the wings, however, and decided to move from on stage to on line. Neal founded and artisitically directed the group “The Virtual Theater” an online community that features virtual performances performed via Zoom. This week’s performance is “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
“It features Broadway talent, it features local actors who have worked professionally in other cities,” explained Neal. “You’ll be able to stop, pause, play it at your will throughout the weekend as many times as you want.”
Neal says people still wish to be entertained and told stories through the pandemic.
“We found that with the great talent that we had we transported our viewers and they felt they were watching people in the same room,” he said.
While the performance is free, they’re hoping to bring awareness to their efforts as artists and the fact that they have also lost their livelihoods.
“Our number one goal is to be able to employ actors and be able to employ people who are on the tech side of things. [We want] to make this more than just a Zoom reading, but make it a production with a production value that people will enjoy watching,” he said.