If you thought coronavirus killed all live theater this year, there's a local company that's getting creative and turning to the drive-in model.
Risk/Reward, in partnership with Boom Arts, will transform a vacant parking lot in the Central Eastside into its stage for two performances on Saturday, July 18, where spectators can view the action unfold from the safety of their cars. Thanks to some assistance from XRAY.FM, audio will be piped in through each vehicle's stereo.
The show is actually a variety of short performances, including dance, music and spoken word from artists associated with a range of companies, including the Portland Opera to Body Home Fat Dance.
"We and our audiences have been craving live performance, and we've been questioning what the return might look like with COVID-19 and social distancing practices in place," Katie Watkins, Risk/Reward's producing artistic director tells WW. "This will certainly be an experiment, but we are pumped to be on the journey to get back to in-person public performances."
Organizers are keeping the exact location under wraps until just hours before the show to avoid encouraging large crowds from congregating beforehand. A food cart will also be on site. When not purchasing something to eat, people will be asked to remain in their cars. A few standing/seated slots are scheduled to be reserved for masked viewers who don't have a vehicle, but want to watch and listen on their smartphones.
The pop-up, public space performances actually began pre-pandemic. Risk/Reward launched Pavement in 2018 throughout the Pearl District, where artists were placed in a four-block radius and walked with the audience through the streets.