Now more than ever, communities need the arts to connect and thrive— but creating traditional performance is impossible in a time of social distance. But the Cherry Arts is anything but traditional. When many arts organizations are forced to contract or compromise their offerings, the Cherry is proud to announce a complete season of four innovative, socially-distanced productions in 2020-21!


September 17–26 the Cherry Arts presents The Fan by Carlo Goldoni, a huge, outdoor, family-friendly farce from the still-hilarious 18th-century author of The Servant of Two Masters. This production will feature a socially-distanced cast with elaborate, comic COVID masks, and heightened movement vividly visible to a distanced audience. In a new form we are calling “lip-sync without lips,” the entire production will be performed to a prerecorded track replete with dialogue, music, and ridiculous sound effects. The show will be available to be watched online or in (distanced, outdoor, masked) person. A first experiment in “lip-sync without lips” can be seen at www.thecherry.org/TheFanSneakPeek. Directed and in a new adaptation by Artistic Director Samuel Buggeln.

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November 13–21, the Cherry presents the English-language première of A Day by Québecoise writer Gabrielle Chapdelaine, translated by Josephine George and directed by Wendy Dann. This strange, funny, and tender new play will star Ithaca favorites, Karl Gregory, Jahmar Ortiz, Erica Steinhagen, and Sylvie Yntema. These four mysteriously connected characters guide one another through the obstacles large and small that must be overcome in order to get through an ordinary day. The unexpected and ever-evolving structure of A Day lends itself beautifully to complexly mixed video, and this production will be presented in live video stream. In each of five performances, four actors will perform live from multi-camera green-screen booths, their performances mixed in real time with recorded video to create a sophisticated and surprising landscape of 24 seemingly ordinary hours. In its original language as Une Journée, the play received the 2018 Gratien-Gélinas prize for best new play.

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February 13–20, the Cherry presents the English-language première of Hotel Good Luck by Mexican writer Alejandro Ricaño. Ricaño is one of Latin America’s most brilliant and celebrated young writers. Hotel Good Luck tells the moving—and dizzying—story of Bobby, a late-night radio DJ who is confronted with an upsetting event and finds himself plunged into a rabbit hole of parallel universes in an attempt to regain what he has lost. San Diego Red said of the Spanish-language production, “Hotel Good Luck Lives Up to The Name And Triumphs!” In the second livestream production of our season, audiences will feel like they are watching an indy movie being made in real time on their screens at home. Translated by Jacqueline Bixler and directed by Samuel Buggeln.

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May 20–30, the Cherry debuts this new headphone walking-play. This brand-new work will explore the hidden histories of Ithaca’s underground railroad and civil rights pioneers. Trap Door will be the Cherry’s third headphone walking play, a form perfect for a time of social distancing, and will break open the form in new and exciting ways. We are excited to announce that the lead writer of Trap Door will be National Book Award finalist poet Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, one of the Cherry’s most regular and beloved collaborators.

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