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Culture

During Pandemic, Miami Improv Troupe Hosts Show With Quarantined Performers From Around The Globe

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Olympia Theater
The Frontyard Theatre Collective

It all began with a phone call to Spain.

Months ago, Gabriela Fernandez called Madrid to check in on her dad, who's been living there for about 17 years.  She says she was concerned about how he was faring under Spain's strict coronavirus quarantine rules.

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Her father was doing fine — but as she spoke to friends and acquaintances overseas, she discovered how many of them were craving some sort of creative outlet to help them cope with self-isolation. She mentioned their desperation to her husband.

“And he says, ‘Yeah, it would be great to have their perspective and maybe showcase the quarantine experience around the world somehow,” she says.

Eureka.

Fernandez is the director of Frontyard Theatre Collective, an improv and sketch comedy theater group based in Miami-Dade. The troupe usually performs at Miami’s Olympia Theater but, like so many other companies, was forced to shut down when the pandemic struck.

Within days of Fernandez’s conversation with her husband, the troupe started taking in submissions from quarantined performers — professional and amateur — from other countries. The resulting online variety show, “Quarantine Around The World,” can be watched on the troupe's Facebook page and on the Olympia Theater's YouTube channel.

The show has streamed videos of all sorts of entertainment fare; fashionistas giving makeup tips, music acts, dance routines, a comedic monologue from a teenager in Argentina, a muralist in Amsterdam painting a tribute to first responders.

Frontyard Theatre Collective has never shied away from taking their audiences on eclectic journeys — quite literally. A few years ago, the troupe premiered "Alice in Wynwoodland" and "History on Wheels" where audience members road bikes (along with the performers) from one scene to another in downtown Miami.

With "Quarantine Around the World," Fernandez says it was fascinating to see how many experiences people from different countries share in common.

"Everybody has been forced to come to terms with who they are when they're by themselves," she says. "And I just find that very interesting."

Before You Go (Online):

"Quarantine Around The World" presented by Frontyard Theatre Collective

Watch the performances via Frontyard's Facebook Page or on the Olympia Theater's YouTube channel.
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This interview is part of WLRN’s series, “Intermission,” a look at how South Florida’s arts community is coping with performing venue shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you're an artist or arts organization trying to stay connected with your audience through social media and online events, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at talktous@wlrnnews.org with the word "Intermission" in the subject line.