The Apple Family, last seen on The Public Theater stage in 2014, will return—though not over the dinner table, but via Zoom April 29. The characters of the Richard Nelson play cycle (part of the writer-director's Rhinebeck Panorama) will reunite online for the live-streamed world premiere of What Do We Need to Talk About? Conversations on Zoom.
Written and directed by Nelson, the virtual performance will reunite 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 will pick 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,” says Nelson. “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 will be performed as a benefit for The Public Theater.