The Center for Applied Drama and Autism (CADA) has had to adapt a lot in recent months, as have we all. The organization moved from the Blue Box to the Zoom box, learning and mastering new technologies along the way. And now, almost a year into this experiment, CADA will continue this online presence even when it is safe to meet in person again. This allows CADA to reach actors from near and far, enabling those who feel most comfortable within their homes the opportunity to participate.
The first most recent virtual performance/fundraiser, “Total Newsense: A Murder Mystery Podcast,” was an unmitigated success. Tickets were sold for one dollar, with the option to create your own price or to become a sponsor. Sponsorships ranged from $25 to $500, with unique benefits for individuals and businesses at each level, the most expensive being an original commercial written and performed by the cast. Two donors partook in this perk: (1) Mac Love, for his Akron on Deck playing cards designed by local artists (with 40 percent of proceeds going right back to them) and (2) Nancy and Leon Kranz, grandparents of one of CADA’s long-term students, who requested the High Mountain Youth Project receive a video highlighting their efforts to serve homeless youth in New Mexico.
The show was set up to integrate these ads, as well as to explain the bizarre circumstances of acting through individual screens, collectively. The premise was simple yet topical: Joe Newsense, a controversial podcast host, has been discovered dead at the studio; suspects are separated into different rooms and must continue to communicate with each other and their listening audience. It was not an attempt to virtualize a stage play; “Total Newsense” was created for this medium alone. Afterwards, viewers told the organizers it was better than a movie, and that they would watch this cast perform every Saturday.
So, with that the new Director of Online Programming Ruben Ryan will be expanding classes, as well developing original creative content to be shared with the public.
First, the long-awaited “Along the Graveyard Path: A History of Disability” will be released in installments. Next, CADA’s One-Act Play Festival, for which the group solicited scripts from all over the world, will begin in spring. Sponsorships will be available for the festival, with commercial spots being seen in New York, India, and beyond. Joe Newsense will be reborn, and many of his coworkers and significant others that fans got to know and love may make a reappearance upon request. For all of this, CADA is hard at work learning the ropes of YouTube, Vimeo, and Patreon.
For info, visit www.centerforada.org.