Fans who missed out on The Apple Family's reunion in the world premiere of Richard Nelson's What Do We Need to Talk About? Conversations on Zoom have gotten a reprieve. The Public Theater has released a streamed recording of the virtual play, now available through June 28 on the Off-Broadway venue's YouTube channel.
First performed live on Zoom April 29 to a live stream audience of over 5,000, the play was then viewed more than 47,000 times across 30 countries during the limited four-day run.
Written and directed by Nelson, the online performance reunited the original cast of the The Apple Family Plays: Jon DeVries, Stephen Kunken, Sally Murphy, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, and Jay O. Sanders, performing from their homes.
For the past 10 years, The Public has presented Nelson’s Rhinebeck Panorama, which includes The Apple Family Plays, The Gabriels, and The Michaels. Featuring the Apple Family, What Do We Need to Talk About? Conversations on Zoom picks up with them during their now-suspended and quarantined lives. They talk about grocery shopping, friends lost, new ventures on a hoped-for horizon—all at a time when human conversation (and theatre) may be more needed than ever before.
“These plays have always been, in my mind, about the need to talk, and the need to listen. That is, at their heart, they are about our need for each other. Never in my life have I felt that need more than now,” said Nelson of the work. “I last wrote about The Apples in 2014. Recently, I began to think about what they would be going through today, in my hometown, Rhinebeck; thought about how close they live to each other, only a street or two apart. How they, like us, are now separated, isolated from each other. And how they, like us, would find ways to come together."
What Do We Need to Talk About? was commissioned by The Public and was performed as a benefit for The Public Theater.