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Lyric Stage Company presents free ‘Walking Plays’

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Lyric Stage Company presents free ‘Walking Plays’
Playwright David Valdes COURTESY PHOTO

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston debuted a new series of audio performances called “The Walking Plays” on Jan. 15. The series will feature six newly commissioned 10-15 minute plays by local playwrights exploring the private moments people experience in public places. Each piece is tied to hidden gems and iconic landmarks around the City of Boston. Listeners can follow the stories on foot or from their homes using a map provided by Lyric Stage. The result is a socially-distanced outdoor (or indoor) art experience.

“In a world where people are unable to experience the beauty of live theater, we’ve created the Walking Plays as a way to bring a form of live theater to them,” says Lyric Stage Artistic Director Courtney O’Connor.

Playwrights David Valdes, Ginger Lazarus, Liana Asim, Miranda ADEkoje, Melinda Lopez and Patrick Gabridge all will write pieces for the series. The stories collectively wind through Back Bay and Downtown Boston. Going forward, Lyric Stage Executive Director Matt Chapuran hopes that the series can continue by branching out into other neighborhoods.

Each play is available for free on the Lyric Stage website. So far, two plays have debuted; the other four plays in the series will be released throughout the winter and spring.

“The Walking Plays” launched on Jan. 15 with Valdes’ play “On Paying Attention.” In the piece, Yaya and her girlfriend T walk through the Public Garden to prepare for a musical performance. On the way, they encounter signs of the social unrest of 2020, and differences in opinion and experience begin to appear between them.

“I was excited to collaborate with the Lyric on a project that would reflect the diversity of the city, both in creators and creations,” said Valdes. “At the same time, spending time on my part of the route introduced me to sights I had never noticed, helping me re-see places that I knew.”

That’s part of the goal of “The Walking Plays,” to bring a new perspective to spaces many Bostonians have walked through time and time again. In “On Paying Attention,” Valdes’ characters discuss the names carved into the Boston Public Library and the gold dome atop a building that’s only viewable from a very specific angle on Dartmouth Street.

Walking along listening to these performances, audience members might also notice details they’ve never slowed down enough to see. Chapuran says, “It’s a great chance … to fall in love with the city all over again.”