We’re coming up on a BIG anniversary here, folks. It’s been almost a year since SLO REP closed its doors. It seems longer than that, but also just like yesterday. Time is a funny thing these days. We miss you. We miss live theatre and concerts, opening night parties, late night rehearsals. All of it. That feeling when the show is about to start and our audience is in their seats, ready to be surprised, delighted, challenged, enlightened or enthralled by whatever is about to come alive onstage. Then the lights come up and the play begins. There is nothing else like it. The shared experience of live theatre is unique and different every single performance. We miss that.
But even though our stage remains dark, due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols, all of us here at SLO REP are doing our utmost to stay connected with our community through THE INTERMISSION SHOW. If you haven’t seen it yet… where have you been?!! Hosted by our fearless leader, SLO REP’s Managing Artistic Director Kevin Harris, THE INTERMISSION SHOW was created as a short term solution for keeping in touch with our artists, audiences and the Central Coast community as a whole. We thought we’d be at it for a month or so, but well…you know how that turned out.
We closed our doors on Thursday, March 12, 2020. THE INTERMISSION SHOW aired its first episode on Friday, April 3, 2020. On Friday, March 12, 2021, the show will air its 80th episode, marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic shutdown.
If you tune in for our 80th episode, don’t expect any fanfare, champagne, confetti or even toilet paper streamers (check out Episode #40!) but we couldn’t let this landmark go by without some sort of recognition, so here we are. How did it all begin and how did we get here? It all started with a staff meeting on Zoom. According to Kevin:
“What was important to us from the very beginning was that we were NOT going to try to replicate the experience of live theatre. It’s extremely difficult to translate live theatre to video, and we knew that we had to go in a different direction and try—for better or for worse—to create something completely new and original from SLO REP.”
Every Friday (our favorite day of the week!) THE INTERMISSION SHOW is posted on YouTube and Facebook no later than 3 pm. The show features check-ins with artists (Larry Lesher at 2:00) from around the country, a segment called “What’s happening on the internet?” (clip at 1:20) special moments with Anton the Dog, (check it out at 2:15) and Imaginary Billy Breed (the real Billy at 1:25) generous doses of comedy (Toby and Cameron at 2:50!) and of course, every week Kerry DiMaggio and her awesome students join us for the ACT Spotlight.
Last October, a brand new segment called Exploring Diverse Voices in Theatre was added to the mix, wherein Kevin highlights the work of BIPOC playwrights and encourages SLO REP audiences to read the plays and learn more about these important artists.
Collectively, INTERMISSION SHOW episodes have now been played more than 50,000 times on Facebook and more than 16,000 times on YouTube, with a “Facebook reach” of nearly 400,000 since the first episode. Wow!
Audiences have responded enthusiastically:
“Thank you for this. Y’all are great at bringing the sweet with the silly. Hang in there, SLOREP! We love you!”
“This is something I did not want, but I think I needed.”
“Just so impressed with all you guys have done this year. Simply amazing and much appreciated.”
“Who can name all the items on Kevin’s desk? 😄 I don’t think the intermission show should ever end.”
“Hahahaha.. I’m inspired to, 1 – save theatre, 2 – FRIEND Jeff Salsbury, 3 – save Anton… and OH! … save KEVIN!!!!!”
“What an outstanding presentation! We are so impressed with the management of the theater. You are an inspiration in a very trying time.”
“I’ve always said a deer could play the drums better than Phil Collins.”
Viewers are encouraged to sponsor segments on the show by making donations of $75 or more to receive a “shout-out” on the show. Since last April, nearly 100 individuals have done just that, generating much-needed funds to help SLO REP come “roaring back” once it is safe to do so. Special thanks to our Host Sponsors: Seth & Chris Blackburn, Jo Jackson, Ann Robinson, Barbara-Jo Osborne and Valerie Pallai. And thanks to all of our episode, segment and ACT Spotlight sponsors too! What a gift it has been to experience such a generous outpouring of support from so many of our friends and fans. Your donations in this uniquely challenging time have been humbling, inspiring, miraculous and have absolutely meant the world to all of us here at SLO REP. Thanks to all of you, we will come back soon, and stronger than ever!
SLO REP’s “unexpected intermission” and THE INTERMISSION SHOW have also received generous support from The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County and the City of San Luis Obispo’s Promotional Coordinating Committee. SLO REP’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and the “Diverse Voices in Theatre” segment on the show have been underwritten by a generous grant from the City of SLO’s DEI Task Force with additional support by Barbara-Jo Osborne.
Thanks for watching everyone. THE INTERMISSION SHOW just keeps rolling along. It’s been almost a year and we’re going to keep it going until we can open our doors and produce live theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo once again. Hopefully, very, VERY soon. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, wear your mask and STAY TUNED!
THIS JUST IN! SLO County is back in the Red Tier as of today, Tuesday, March 2nd! Movie theatres will be opening this weekend and live theatre can’t be far behind. Think good thoughts everyone and we’ll be back this spring! Have a great week and stay healthy everyone!
P.S. If you’d like to take a trip down memory land and view some of your favorite episodes again, check out our YouTube channel HERE. Some of our favorite episodes include #40, #7, #27, #12 and of course our special holiday episode. If you’ve got a favorite, please let us know!