The members of Blackout Theatre are used to turning out new, original content regularly.
The process has been modified some since the pandemic, but the drive is still as important as ever.
The theater company has put together a couple episodes of sketch comedy that will stream at 8 p.m. Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11, on its Facebook and YouTube pages.
“We met up over Zoom and wrote sketches,” says Barney Lopez, Blackout Theatre technical director. “We did the readings over Zoom as well. What’s great is all those cast in the sketches were made up of couples. We were able to get two-person scenes. We then uploaded everything, and our editors put it together at home. We practiced as much social distancing as we could.”
The sketches were made possible by a city of Albuquerque grant from the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund.
Lopez says the plan was to create seven to nine sketches.
“We came up with a ton of material,” he says. “A lot of us are at home, and we’ve had time to do stuff. We ended up making enough material for two sketch shows. But there was also enough ideas to make a third show for the end of the month.”
To get the word out, Blackout Theatre has posted across its social media platforms – YouTube, Instagram, Periscope and Twitch.
“We were able to use the program to send the videos out as a livestream,” Lopez says. “Because it’s sketch comedy, viewers can come on in at any moment.”
Lopez says the money from the city was used to pay artist stipends and production costs.
“A lot of us at the company became unemployed immediately,” he says. “We were able to pay about 15 people for the work on the project.”
Lopez says the city might stream the series later.
“We want to keep doing more of these,” he says. “With live theater changed, it’s been interesting planning a new season. Because there might not be any live shows with an audience for potentially a year, we might be stuck with this type of format. It’s an experiment with a new medium. Theater is about adapting to the changes.”