This week, Arts Editor Jared Bowen reviews “Pandemic Play” from Liars & Believers. Plus, an edible challenge from the Worcester Art Museum and a new podcast from Handel + Haydn Society

“Pandemic Play,” a series of free virtual performances from Liars & Believers

Ted and Marie
A still from "Ted and Marie," this week's new Pandemic Play from Liars & Believers.
Courtesy of Liars & Believers

In response to the cancellation of live performances, theater ensemble Liars & Believers has become a streaming machine (or a mini-Netflix, if you will) of virtual theater performances on their website.

Under the banner of “Pandemic Play,” Liars & Believers is creating and hosting a series of video and audio performances, for all ages, ranging from Shakespeare to science fiction, with new content added weekly.

“Everyone at the beginning was terrified and felt alone and isolated, and we just had to make stuff for us to be OK,” says LAB Artistic Director Jason Slavick. “Art can lighten the load, and can help you process things, and that's what we can do as artists. We can be creative and make work and make people feel better.”

“Edible WAM,” a baking challenge from the Worcester Art Museum

Edible WAM
A 3rd Century B.C.E. Greek terracotta mask from the Worcester Art Museum's collection is recreated using brioche dough.
Lauren Szumita, courtesy of the Worcester Art Museum

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in museum closures around the globe, but that hasn’t stopped cultural institutions from finding creative new ways to engage audiences with their collections. Places like Amsterdam’s Rjiksmuseum and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles have issued challenges to art lovers to recreate famous artworks from their collections at home with whatever materials they have.

Now, the Worcester Art Museum has developed a delicious new spin on the idea: Edible WAM.

The challenge invites audiences to submit baked recreations of art from its permanent collection, and has resulted in everything from breaded Greek masks, to Ancient Egyptian sugar cookies, to an Oreo-frosted Donald Judd cake.

“It makes us think about our collection in a totally different way,” says Claire Whitner, Worcester Art Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and European Art curator. “It makes us think about the materiality of these pieces.”

Submissions are featured on the museum’s social media pages and assembled online via Flickr. From the kitchen to the closet, teacher Laura Dusty and her Leicester Middle School colleagues and students have their own spin on art appreciation as they’ve begun recreating ensembles and settings featured in WAM works.

“Tuning In,” a new podcast from Handel + Haydn Society

Handel + Haydn | Tuning In
Michael Blanchard, courtesy of Handel + Haydn Society.
Harry Christophers conducts Guy Fishman (far left), Aisslinn Nosky (far right) and the rest of the Handel + Haydn Orchestra

Even though Handel + Haydn Society was forced to cancel its spring performances, you can still get your classical music fix from their new podcast “Tuning In.” Hosted by H+H Principal Cellist Guy Fishman, the podcast tackles some of the most monumental works in baroque and classical music, including Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” which was the focus in the most recent episode featuring Handel + Haydn Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky. “It’s amazing to me that I’ve performed The Four Seasons more times than I can count, and every single time it feels to me like I’m playing a new composition,” says Nosky in the podcast. “There’s a new feeling to it even though it’s hundreds of years old, and I can’t get enough of that.”

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