SAN ANTONIO – Just getting on stage takes a lot of courage; now imagine doing it by yourself in front of an audience. That’s what some local performers are preparing to do during this season at The Public Theater of San Antonio.
Actor Rick Sanchez, who put on the first one-person show of the theatre season, says a lot goes on behind the scenes to perform solo.
“(You have) to demand the stage for so long, and there’s nobody there to help you or to or to guide you or to interact with,” Sanchez said. “It just required a lot of attention and stamina for sure.”
Sanchez was the lead actor for the “Buyer & Cellar” show that ran for two weekends. Each performance was about an hour and forty-five minutes long.
Theater company manager Courtnie Mercer says about 850 customers tuned into their first livestream play over both weekends combined. A typical weekend show can bring in up to 1,800 people, Mercer said.
“A lot of people think that we’re showing a production on Zoom, and it’s so much more than that,” Mercer said. “We have a brand new camera system that’s giving different angles and different side views and different perspectives to this show. And it’s like watching Hamilton on Disney Plus.”
The company was forced to cut 22 full-time and part-time staff to tighten its budget. A typical play or musical can take up to 30 or more people to produce.
The first solo show was done with three people in the entire building.
City funding for the nonprofit was cut from $196,306 last year to under $160,000 this year. The hope is that as the city and county loosen restrictions, the theatre will be able to host limited audiences for performances.
“When we are able to get back in the building, we’ll have the option of in-person at a very limited capacity,” Mercer said. “And then we will also have the stream option for any at-risk patrons that don’t feel comfortable coming in the building yet.”
For now, Mercer says, the nonprofit is counting on the support of patrons who continue to support the arts.
Tickets for Squeamish, which opens Oct. 15, are already on sale.