The prophetic words of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need of Love Today,” ring especially true in the unprecedented experiences of 2020. With its upcoming virtual production, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis seeks to rise to his four-decades old challenge.
This week, The Rep will debut a collection of stories that offer hope, encouragement and perspective in a time of global uncertainty. Love and Kindness in the Time of Quarantine will stream online for free at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. The production is directed and curated by Regina Taylor, The Rep’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation playwright-in-residence.
Love and Kindness in the Time of Quarantine features a blend of songs and monologues examining nine perspectives during the coronavirus pandemic and reflecting on the search for light in this seemingly dark moment in history.
The production features nationally renowned writers Dustin Chinn, Connie Congdon, Isaac Gomez and Octavio Solis as well as local favorites Tre’von Griffith, Carter W. Lewis, Mariah Richardson and Tonina. The performance features acclaimed stage and screen actors including Kathleen Chalfant, Brian D. Coats, Peter Gerety, Cedric Lamar and Karen Rodriguez.
“As an artist, I've observed the human spirit hungry for care and connection during this quarantine time,Taylor said. “What can we do to fill ourselves with love?"
“I’m grateful to the wonderful collection of artists who have written pieces that connect our community to art and connect art to life. Together, we can bear witness to what affects us in this time and share those experiences.”
Inspired by the community organizations that demonstrate love and kindness in the St. Louis region every day, The Rep has partnered with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis on this virtual production.
“Art has the unique ability to cultivate and amplify compassion,” said Hana S. Sharif, the Rep’s Augustin Family artistic director. “In the midst of these uncertain times, we hope that Love and Kindness in the Time of Quarantine will inspire us all to spread light, hope and communion with each other. We are proud to collaborate with The Urban League, where these tenets are modeled daily in service of our community.”
Donations are encouraged and all proceeds directly benefit the Urban League as the organization provides food, toiletries and housing assistance to people in need during the coming holiday season.
“Since 1918, The Urban League has sought to uplift and empower communities, and we recognize the power of theater to do that same important work,” said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. “We look forward to spreading a message of love, kindness and community this season with The Rep.”
The Rep is also inviting people throughout the area to spread positivity and joy across social media with acts and images of love and kindness with The #RepLoveAndKindness challenge, underway through Dec. 4. Participants are asked do something kind for someone else, share the story or post a photo on social media, add #RepLoveAndKindness as a hashtag to the post.
They are then urged to tag five friends, challenging them to commit a random act of kindness of their own and keep the good works flowing.
“It could be as simple as texting someone who might need a kind word or as exhausting as raking a neighbor’s leaves,” The Rep said in a statement about the challenge. “No kindness is too big or too small.”
Love and Kindness in the Time of Quarantine may be viewed for free on repstl.org and The Rep’s YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/repstlvideo) beginning at 7 p.m. CST on Nov. 20. The performance will be available to stream through Dec. 31.