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With the reopening of the city, one of New York’s cultural must-sees – street theater – is picking up steam.
From July 31, Theater for the New City will open its summer 2021 tour with performances of an original musical, Intensive care, or: Rehearsal for a nurse, in playgrounds, parks and closed city streets.
Written and directed by Crystal Field, and composed and arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks, Critical care talks about a student who takes a job in a retirement home, only to be plunged into the double crisis of the coronavirus and the Trump presidency.
âTheater, music and dance come together to tell us how to find each other so that the terror of the Trump years does not happen again,â the Theater for the New City said.
Field began writing street theater in 1968 in Philadelphia, and found there a huge appetite for “both modern and classical poetry when presented in a context of relevance to social issues.” She continued to write plays with the TNC and wrote and directed “a brand new opera for the TNC Street Theater Company in each successive year”. Many of these pieces combine political philosophy with humor in a genre she called âthat clever slapstickâ.
Critical care, which tackles issues ranging from COVID to health insurance, from immigration to the Trump administration, is part of the course, as Field attempts to confront social and political issues in a way that can touch, transcend, and be accessible for the whole family.
A “heartbreaking musical”, Critical care was composed and arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks, a composer who has written music for a number of TNC productions, including Liberty or just us: a story of the city park and No Brainer, or the solution to parasites.
With last year’s TNC Street Theater production Freedom or just us broadcast live due to COVID, the company is excited to bring live, in-person performances back to the parks and streets of New York City. The free performances, which will affect the five boroughs, began on July 31 and continue every Saturday and Sunday until September.