Then came COVID.

The year 2020 will be remembered as the year everything went to hell. Way down the long list of actual loss was that 2020 was the year ALWAYS WILL was supposed to have a fringe festival premiere, and instead had to go virtual. (First world problem.) What we did was try to think outside the Zoom boxes. Here are some images of the way director Lynda Clark coaxed our audience into believing that 10 actors isolated in their homes were actually speaking to one another and sharing space. Brilliant!

(A synopsis of ALWAYS WILL is also below!)

Cast + Crew

Thanks to the intrepid cast and crew who put on a live show with one hand tied behind their backs, earbuds in their ears and their eyes closed. Lynda Clark, Jim O’Brien, Melanie Simmons, Julie Oliver, Lisa Leonard, Vanessa Neff, Sean Malone, Krystin Wingfield, Hayden Moses, and me! Our amazing Stage Manager (and so much more) was Yamila Monge, with photography by Darryl Ray and incidental music by Becca Stevens.

Synopsis

ALWAYS WILL tells the story of Margaret, a 60-ish woman who was married to Everett, a successful attorney in whose orbit she spent 40 years. Before he dies, Everett records a series of videos to lead Margaret through the five stages of grief, expecting to curate her life even after he is gone. When she veers off script, things get interesting, and Margaret emerges from Everett’s shadow to finally face both her grief and her future on her own terms.

Response

ALWAYS WILL was presented as a staged reading on Zoom as part of the Women’s Theatre Festival, NC in July, 2020.

The central premise of Always Will is a strong one that allows for in-depth character writing and a satisfying arc for Margaret’s transition. The whole production was strongly acted and technically accomplished. The idea of photos accompanying the live dialog was a creative way to get around the limitations and downsides of Zoom-type presentations. Good job! I think it should be voted best of the Festival. —Roy Dicks, Theatre Critic, CVNC

Always Will captures the struggle of accepting imperfections in the people we consider heroes. Margaret’s character is handled tastefully and relatably. Without ridiculing or shaming her, the play shows why someone can cling to rose-colored glasses for such a long time. It was this excellent handling of the issue that kept me watching, curious to see if Margaret’s eyes would be opened—and how she would cope with the truth. —Erim Akpan, contributor, Chatham Arts and Entertainment

Steffi’s Rubin’s play, Always Will is a deep and multifaceted piece of theatre that deserves its day in the real world. I was fortunate to have seen what Rubin and director Lynda Clark were able to deliver in their virtual production. Their use of photos, title cards and music as an alternative to the current video-boxed presentations via Zoom, allowed this audience member to suspend disbelief à la radio days of old. Always Will *will* one day have its night upon the stage, with a set, lights and sound design—and we, the audience, seated shoulder-to-shoulder, will be richer for it. —Marlo Bernier, Writer/Director, Auf der Bühne Theatricals