Virtual theater department presents ‘You Make My Frame Shake’


Photo courtesy of The Chaparral/Kevin Mann. Opening credits for the C.O.D. production of You Make My Frame Shake.

College of the Desert’s theater department presents “You Make My Frame Shake” by Luigi Jannuzzi. The play is presented virtually with the actors performing on camera from their homes. “There are many challenges to a live Zoom production,” said  Janet Miller associate professor of theatre arts. “The actors are acting in a bubble with no one to relate to and no audience reaction.”

Acting is hard. Making a connection with someone on stage and making it feel real to the audience is a skill that is difficult to master. The best actors make it look easy, but it is not. Acting in a virtual environment is even more difficult. Next year, the College of the Desert theater department will return to in-person productions with ‘Middletown” by Will Eno. While live theater slowly claws its way back to life, the virtual theater has become a substitute during these difficult times.

“You Make My Frame Shake” is presented virtually through a webinar link and continues performances on Nov. 19 and 20 at 7 p.m and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. While necessary for everyone’s safety, virtual shows lack the visceral connection one gets in a live theater. Kudos to the actors for embracing a difficult situation and running with it. “The first weekend went well. The actors and tech staff really hit their stride. They have all worked diligently and it paid off,” said Miller.

“You Make My Frame Shake” is made up of eight one-acts and four monologues all set at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Author, Luigi Jannuzzi inhabits his play with human characters such as museum patrons, guards and administrators. He also uses the artwork in the museum as characters. At different points, statues and paintings come to life to share their experiences being in the museum.

Lizeth Corrales, Jake Helm, Cameron Keys, Christopher Lopez, Alexandria Ottoson and Cindy Sanchez-Gomez each portray several different characters in the piece. Each one-act or monologue focuses on aspects of love seen through the eyes of the people and artwork that inhabit the museum. Claude Monet paints a portrait of his wife and a man who, unbeknownst to Claude, is his wife’s lover. Meanwhile, Claude’s own mistress eggs him on to paint her into the piece. A forlorn statute that is being kept in storage, begs statutes on the museum floor to help get her out of storage and into the spotlight she deserves. Two security guards, secretly in love, are encouraged by the statutes they guard to finally ask each other out to a dance. The subject of a painting vehemently wants her piece’s name changed as the name makes her look bad. The pieces are witty and intelligent. One piece involves a waiter at the museum’s cafe who has a chance encounter with a famous artist. The piece deals with fame and its aftermath. Another sees a Sphynx statute angry that another statute dared to answer one of its riddles, so the Sphynx decides to jump out a museum window.

To see “You Make My Frame Shake,” click on this link a few minutes before the starting time of the upcoming performances.


Photo courtesy of The Chaparral/Kevin Mann. End credits for “You Make My frame Shake.”