Live and learn: Artists and audience figure out new ways to see and be seen

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If there was ever an artistic medium born to pivot on a dime, it’s improv. So in a way, it’s fitting that the long-running, live local soap opera, Die-Nasty, should be inventing a new way to be seen and heard.

Restrictions on live performances amid the COVID-19 crisis have forced Die-Nasty, which has been improvising weekly for nearly 30 years, to shutter its Monday night performances at the Varscona. So the tight-knit creators, many of whom are actors thrown out of work due to the pandemic, turned to Zoom, the video conferencing technology presently enjoying a moment.

“It’s been a really good exercise because you have to look at what you are doing, and who your audience is,” says Stephanie Wolfe, one of the founders of the Die-Nasty. “Just to reinvent who you are has been a surprisingly positive experience.”

Die-Nasty is but one of the artistic groups forced to come up with a new way to reach an audience. The Citadel has created its Stuck in the House series, which sees a daily, short talent show by a local artist posted on it website until at least April 20. The innovation is getting thousands of hits and thanks to a donation from the Edmonton Community Foundation, artists receive a $100 honorarium.