OtB Press 2020-2021
Hottest front-room seats: the best theatre and dance to watch online
"What better time is there to watch a “grand-scale experimental pop opera about keeping it together”? Ahamefule J Oluo’s innovative show, staged at Seattle’s Moore theatre in 2014, mixes standup-style routines with a mesmerising musical accompaniment and explores his experience of a rare autoimmune disease. It is one of many films, including Americana Kamikaze, that are available to rent or buy from On the Boards."
The New Yorker
"Since 2010, the Web site run by On the Boards theatre, in Seattle, has been amassing an unsurpassed collection of high-quality, full-length, streamable recordings of American contemporary dance. It’s all free through the end of April, although you are encouraged to pay a small fee, half of which goes to the artists. The best selections include Beth Gill’s mesmerizing “Electric Midwife,” Tere O’Connor’s masterly and mystifying “Bleed,” Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s haunting “Bronx Gothic,” Kyle Abraham’s civil-rights-era-inspired “When the Wolves Came In,” and Ralph Lemon’s elusive but suddenly timely “How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?”
Seattle’s cultural innovators of 2020
"Local performing arts organization On the Boards took the audio idea one step further, staging a series of live phone performances for intimate audiences of two as part of the U.S. premiere of the theater experiment A Thousand Ways. Along with a stranger, I signed up for an hourlong phone call, which unspooled as part-questionnaire, part-acting session (we were instructed to read lines and answer questions) that made me feel simultaneously closer and further away from people than ever — but mostly, excited about theater again."
CrosscutA Seattle theater stages socially distanced plays — no Zoom required
"From phone performances to drive-ins and two-person plays: On the Boards is outsmarting coronavirus constraints.
My living room is pitch-dark. I’ve turned off all the lights, as the robotic voice on the phone requested. Through the window I can make out a tree shape-shifting in the wind. I can’t see the stranger at the other end of the line, but I can sense her presence as I describe memories from my childhood.
Why am I confiding in a total stranger?
I don’t even know her name. But I know other things: That she’s never been to a football game. That she has one sibling, a brother. I’ve learned the color of her eyes (brown) and that she's good in emergencies. I can picture the worn-out socks of a beloved dance teacher from her youth, and the yellow pants she’s wearing right now.
We’ve revealed all of this to each other because the third party on the line, the automated voice on the phone, told us to." click to read more
You don't need a face mask or copious amounts of hand sanitizer to visit the theater this month. You just need a quiet room with good cell service
A Thousand Ways, presented by Obie Award-winning theater-makers 600 HIGHWAYMEN and On the Boards, is a three-part, year-long performance designed to meet participants "where they are and when they are," gradually taking the audience from isolation to congregation.
The first part, running until the end of September, is a smart piece of auto theater: After dialing in to a specific phone number, an eerie robotic voice mediates a conversation between you and a stranger for about an hour. Some aspects of this person's identity are kept completely anonymous, like their name and profession. But over the course of the performance, you get a more intimate portrait of the other caller—how they see themselves, who they love, their family history." click to read more
The Seattle Times
6 of the most interesting arts events to stream
"Ontheboards.tv: free anytime through April 30. Seattle is lucky that On the Boards — one of the country’s great new-performance venues — calls this town home. Several years ago, it launched ontheboards.tv, high-quality films of performances that have happened here and on sister stages in Portland. Through April 30, ontheboards.tv is free, meaning you can watch some of the weirdest, funniest, best things On the Boards has had to offer: “Now I’m Fine” by Ahamefule J. Oluo (his first autobiographical solo-show-with-backing-jazz-band), “The Method Gun” by Rude Mechs (one of the best plays I’ve seen anywhere, anytime), “The Shipment” by Young Jean Lee (the Korean American playwright’s hair-raising attempt to write “a Black show” while keeping her eyes on all the problems and contradictions involved), a conversation/master class by great choreographers Zoe Scofield and Dani Tirrell and much more. Soak it all up at ontheboards.tv."
Now I’m Fine review – candid gem mixes standup and mesmerising music
"Since venues closed their doors because of the coronavirus, a wealth of online theatre has emerged and the industry is finding quick, creative ways to bring the stage to screen. But alongside the new, it is worth diving into the archives to find buried treasure.
Ahamefule J Oluo’s innovative show Now I’m Fine is one such gem. Originally staged at Seattle’s Moore theatre in 2014, and streaming at OntheBoards.tv, it has been dubbed a “standup big-band autobiography” for its original, hybrid form. It feels new in content too, speaking to our precarious times and bolstering the spirit." click to read more
by Arifa Akbar
When cultural venues close, artists move online
"The contemporary performance presenter On the Boards has made its subscription service, On the Boards TV, free through the month of April. OTB has been recording performances for several years, and its archives offers an international who’s who in the world of contemporary arts."
New York Times
No Theater? No Problem. Plays and Musicals Switch to Streaming
"Experiencing theater from home is not a new phenomenon, of course. But now, in addition to the catalog long available on platforms such as BroadwayHD or more niche services like On the Boards, which specializes in experimental performance (and offers free streaming through the end of April), companies are trying to preserve the shows that were playing, or about to start, when the industry shut down."