A month ago, Jenna Worsham, a stage director, was on the phone with Catya McMullen, a playwright. “We were laughing at ourselves that in a time of crisis, we were kind of useless,” Worsham said. “We’re not firemen. We’re not nurses. We’re not doctors. We’re not government officials. We just write stories about those people. In the reality of a pandemic, our job is to stay home.”
Tired of feeling inactive, Worsham and McMullen started to dream. What if they could help? They decided to convene playwrights and actors to raise money for No Kid Hungry, a national Share Our Strength campaign that works to end childhood hunger. Within 24 hours of the idea first being sparked, they were on the phone with Billy Shore, a founder and the executive chair of Share Our Strength.
The resulting online theater initiative, The Homebound Project, will run for five weeks starting May 6 and feature three editions of new, short theater pieces that air for four days. Each edition consists of 10 short pieces (two to five minutes long) on the same theme — starting with “home” then moving to “sustenance.” Future themes are yet to be announced. View-at-home tickets start at $10 per edition, and all proceeds benefit No Kid Hungry.
Participating actors in this all-volunteer effort include Uzo Aduba, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Betty Gilpin, Jessica Hecht, André Holland, Marin Ireland, Hari Nef, Ashley Park, Mary-Louise Parker, Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Amanda Seyfried and Zachary Quinto. Participating playwrights include John Guare, Rajiv Joseph, Martyna Majok, Qui Nguyen, Sarah Ruhl and Anne Washburn.
“Stories are one of the few things when we’re isolated that can help us stay human and can help take away the loneliness and isolation and fear,” Worsham said. “They give us an opportunity to be somewhere else, even if it’s only in our minds.”