You can’t keep theatre people down, so when theatres are shut down for quarantine and the next generation of theatre people just create their own theatres. That’s what happened with Adelaida “Adi” Martínez, and Brittany Adriana Carrillo, along with Cole Atencio, who took theatre into their own hands and created ABC Theatre Company. After the success of their first virtual musical, CARRIE: THE MUSICAL, they talk about how they created this company, how the show went, and what the future holds for them and their new theatre company.
Adi Martinez and Brittany Carrillo who study theatre at Grossmont College, found their inspiration to start a theatre company when the pandemic quarantine shut down the school and all performances. What started as a Zoom call has blossomed into the creation of the ABC Theatre Company and their successful first production, CARRIE: THE MUSICAL.
Brittany says that it was a process of creativity and optimism on a musical they loved that helped spark the idea that led to everything so far.
ABC Theater Co. truly began as a fever dream; looking at where we ended up, I’m blown away at what we accomplished together. At the beginning of quarantine, I was in a zoom call with Adi and Cole and we were having a fun conversation about missing live theatre and dream roles we hoped to perform when quarantine was lifted; we wanted to remain optimistic. CARRIE came up in conversation and we all laughed while falling in love with the idea of this show.
Adi agrees and says that they weren’t content to just sit and wait for something to happen so they decided to make something happen on their own.
Creating a company was not even our intention. We were all upset over our shows being canceled, and we realized we could not just sit around and wait for new opportunities to arise. CARRIE has a relatively small cast and does not require any elaborate sets or costumes, so it felt like the perfect show to start with.
While the idea may have come from a small zoom call, Adi and Brittany say it was the collaboration and generating creative ideas from their hard-working and talented cast that pushed and friends took what was meant to be a few fun musical numbers into a fully filmed virtual musical.
“It then led to talking about how we would do a zoom version since the virtual theatre was surfacing and we admired the drive to keep theatre alive in this way,” Brittany says. “The next morning, it was like an epiphany; Adi and I thought; “you know what, let’s do this!”
For Adi, one of the opportunities for creativity was rehearsing, and filming (and showing a character that has a well-known telekinetic power) while still having a feeling of live theatre. That meant finding new and more accessible ways to rehearse with a cast that was spread out and had conflicting schedules.
For the rehearsal process, we worked independently for the first few months. It was difficult to plan calls with everyone’s schedules, so instead, I uploaded videos to explain the blocking of scenes and songs. Brittany and I also created audios of scenes so that the actors could rehearse alone and eventually film with those lines in their ears. The actors would send me voice memos and videos so that I could approve their choices, and then they would film and upload them to our folder by the deadline we had set for them.
Brittany says that the challenges of syncing, especially when it came to feeling like everyone was in the same room was important, and led to one of her favorite, and deadly moments in the show.
Syncing was a major challenge that we anticipated in the early stages. From characters looking like they’re actually talking with each other to lights looking like they’re connecting on different screens despite everyone filming separately. This was important because we wanted our audience to forget that they were watching a zoom show.
The other huge challenge was getting the telekinesis parts synced up. Adi had a clear vision of what she wanted each of those telekinesis parts to look like, which made it easy for me to figure out technicalities on how to make it happen; we really worked great as a duo in this!
One of the deaths involved Mr. Stephens being “thrown” at a wall. The take I used was when the actor accidentally kicked the pillow he was supposed to land on for safety; it hit the tripod of the camera at the exact moment he hit the wall! It was so amazing to see, we HAD to use it. There were so many other moments like that and the entire cast had many ideas.
Along with the telekinesis they also had to sync up all of the music and singing which is kind of key since, you know, it’s a musical and all. Brittany credits their Music Director Cole Atencio for all of the work involved in fine-tuning and syncing tracks.
We were lucky to have Cole Atencio, our Music Director to help us fine-tune and clarify harmonies. There were also tracks that we purchased that had each individual part separate for everyone in the cast, but it was worth the late nights to make sure the sound was as blended as possible.
While CARRIE was only a one-night event, the success of the show, along with the positive feedback has inspired Adi and Brittany to work towards future shows. But as CABARET pointed out “Money Makes The World Go Round,” so the first thing they need to do to make the second show a reality is to raise funds.
Adi says that they have set up a Go Fund Me dedicated to make this second show a reality.
The money we receive on our Go Fund Me will be used to purchase the rights, backdrops, filming equipment, and costumes for our next production. After the release of CARRIE we managed to raise $730, but our goal is $1,500. Hopefully, we can get there in a few months. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated!
Adi and Brittany have put in long hours, thought through every detail to make ABC Theatre Co and their first show a success. As they look towards the future and their next project for the theatre company, Adi also is quick to also give praise to their theatre teachers for giving them the skills to make this dream a reality.
I want to give a quick shout-out to the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department and everyone at The Stagehouse Theatre! The instructors there have prepared us so well and supported us through this entire process.
To follow and support ABC Theatre Company you can find them online and on Instagram. You can also find their Go Fund Me link below to donate to their next production.
Go Fund Me: https://bit.ly/3gcxSIQ
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