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Woodstock Local Interests






From Stage to Screen

By Justin Spainhour-Roth

I dream for a living. While I cant take credit for that quote (you win this round, Mr. Spielberg), it definitely resonates with me a lot and the work I get to do at Elm Street Cultural Arts. Each day, I get the opportunity to think outside the box, be creative, and come up with ways to make the arts more impactful, more relevant, and more accessible to our community.

On March 13, hours before the curtain was to go up on opening night, we had to make the very difficult decision to cancel all performances of Helvetica, a beautiful new play by Will Coleman, due to COVID-19 concerns. In times like these, you have two choices in how to respond you can either lie down or stand up.

Within 24 hours, the cast, crew, creative team, and Elm Street staff came together to do something we had never attempted before we filmed the show and released it for people to enjoy from the comfort and safety of their homes. We normally film our performances for archival purposes, but this was different. This had to capture the spirit and the essence of the show as well as translate the magic of a live stage performance to an audience on film.

Our photographer, Bronson Kurtz, connected us with David Thompson Technologies LLC/DDT-Live, a media production company run by two talented young men who I could not believe were still in high school. Several different cameras were set up at multiple angles, audio was tested from all the microphones, and the show was filmed without an audience.

When we put everything together, the final edit revealed so many nuances from the production a touching moment between two cancer patients, an awkward first date, a heartbreaking but real conversation about death between a young girl and her father. That day of filming was so surreal and will probably be one of my favorite experiences at Elm Street. If youre interested, Helvetica can be viewed for free at until May 10.

The arts impact us in so many ways, and to me, film is a great visual example of that. Watching and experiencing something can make us laugh, tug at our heartstrings, encourage us to think, or a combination of the three. The next time you watch something new or revisit an old favorite, think about the artistry thats behind the angles, costume pieces, performances, and so much more. Its awe-inspiring.