Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
COVER IMAGE: Anthony Martinez-Briggs and Ross Beschler in CODE BLUE. Photo by Kristin Finger
The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia is pleased to announce the release of a new digital performance which takes its inspiration from absurdist theater (such as Beckett’s NOT I) and the Wilma HotHouse Company’s bold physical performance style, all recorded on iPhones. CODE BLUE, directed by Artistic Director Blanka Zizka, featuring sound and video design by Taj Rauch, and starring HotHouse company members Anthony Martinez-Briggs and Ross Beschler, will be released online, free, starting Friday, June 26, 2020.
“CODE BLUE is looking at our current moment of crisis that has been exacerbated by two kinds of viruses: COVID-19 and racism,” said Zizka. “The piece initially started as an angry reaction to the dangerous banalities of Donald Trump’s COVID-19 briefings. With extreme close-ups of actor Ross Beschler’s mouth, like an impersonal megaphone, I wanted to emphasize the banality and aggressiveness and juxtapose it with Anthony Martinez-Briggs’s introspective and confessional poem.”
The performance tells the story of two men, caught in the chaos of contemporary America. One man (portrayed by Martinez-Briggs), working inside a hospital during the COVID pandemic, comes to grasp the volatility of what it means to be “essential.” The other (portrayed by Beschler) frantically parrots President Trump’s rhetoric. Its title, CODE BLUE, refers to the hospital code indicating an emergency when a patient enters cardiac arrest.
The entire production (a 14 minute run time) was recorded during the COVID-19 quarantine, safely inside the actors’ homes using their iPhones. Production design features lights by Thom Weaver, costumes by Vasilija Zivanic, and text by Martinez-Briggs and Zizka.
Audience members can stream CODE BLUE from the Wilma’s website, wilmatheater.org/code-blue, starting June 26. Although the performance is free for viewers, The Wilma asks the public to register and consider a donation to support the company and future projects.