July 28, 2020
Members of the resident acting company share below what they have been up to since Trinity Rep cancelled performances and classes in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
Stephen Berenson (and Brian McEleney)
At the beginning of March, I went through every bookshelf in my house and created a new area of all the books I said I’d read someday. I’ve been making good progress on everything from Ron Chernow’s Washington biography to Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Every night at 5:00 pm, Brian and I meet in front of the computer for “The Bereleney Quarantini Hour.” We’ve caught up with family, friends, and graduates all over the world, including our colleagues at Trinity Rep. Brian insists we keep the sessions to one hour, citing the family joke: “What’s the difference between Jews and gentiles?” “Gentiles leave a party without saying goodbye. Jews say goodbye and then don’t leave.”
I’ve been spending time with my family, writing, acting in the occasional live-streamed play reading, finding ways to support racial and social justice, and using my extra time to start and/or finish things that I never have time to do!
I started out baking a ton of tarts at the beginning of the pandemic but have now transitioned to aiding local efforts to create a police alternative for a more equitable, just Providence for ALL. I’m also narrating audiobooks in our home studio, and playing with our new puppy, Henry Winkler.
In the spring, Richard (Donelly) and I discovered that the Audubon Nature Preserves were still open! So we made our way along nearly all of those trails and reminded ourselves how incredibly beautiful RI is – and how lucky we are to live here. We are also attempting home improvements and socially distanced visits at the table Richard made from junk in the basement (an old door and copper tubing.) Pictured here are Richard, and Joe Wilson, Jr. at the table.
Stephen Thorne (and Angela Brazil)
Angela and I have been fortunate to have kept working through all this – Angela with the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program and me with recording audiobooks. In between that we helped to shepherd the kids through the end of the school year (I know definitively that I will never have a second career as a middle school math teacher – my respect for teachers has only increased), worked a lot in our yard (our garden has been a highlight) and taken a lot of walks. We spent a couple of weeks reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman out loud together before bed. We joined the protest at the capitol and continue to talk as a family about George Floyd, systemic racism, white supremacist culture, and about how we need to help make change. Above all, we try to meet the uncertainty of all this with grace and humor. And sometimes we just have pancakes for dinner.
I’ve been lucky enough to remain employed recording audiobooks. In addition to my time in the recording booth, I’ve been working on projects around the house and enjoying time with Rebecca Gibel (we’re married!) and our pandemic puppy, Henry Winkler.
Joe Wilson, Jr.
Hey everybody. Joe Wilson, Jr here. I was invited to write a few lines about what I’ve been up to over the past few months, as we continue the battle against COVID-19, and as this nation is in a war for its soul. This struggle to end systemic oppression and racism in this country has come to an inflection point. We in the theater are grappling with these same questions of safety, equity, and justice every moment of the day. As an educator, the institutions within which I teach are unpacking these same questions: How do we keep the people we serve safe? How do we provide safe spaces for the people we serve? What are our priorities and why? Can we commit that anything we DO does not leave others behind? Can we commit to doing so? We must respond to the uniqueness of this moment. These past few months have been tough for us all. Every day I mourn the loss of those precious moments we share in the rehearsal hall, or in the dark-light of the theater. I have found that I have spent a lot of time not only preparing for my classes in this new virtual/hybrid world, but also thinking about my place in this world, and working to be better….DO better. At this time of social distancing and distance learning, I have and continue to experience profound moments of grace with my fellow human beings. That gives me hope. I am planning, plotting, getting thrown curve balls, getting my hopes up, being disappointed, getting mad, feeling pleasantly surprised, and tired. But I am continuing to be inspired. That’s what I’ve been up to. We got so much work to do. So, in the words of the late John Lewis, let’s go out there and make some ‘good trouble.’ I would like to give a special thanks to my puppy dog (8 years old) Stella. She keeps me smiling. See you in class, or at the theater soon…