“A Little Less Lonely” by DTC and Public Works Dallas

A Little Less Lonely by DTC and Public Works Dallas
Photo: Imani Thomas

DTC and Public Works Dallas want us all to feel “A Little Less Lonely.” Dallas Theater Center’s city-wide community engagement program is releasing a collaborative film by that title. The program will be free to view, and will be available on the DTC website Aug. 10.

“A Little Less Lonely” is a filmed version of an original theatrical production, directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo. Sixty community members of all ages created and performed the project during the spring and summer of 2021. The ensemble cast came together online from neighborhoods throughout Dallas. They explored acting, dancing and playwriting with professional artists from DTC. The artists included DTC Playwright-in-Residence Jonathan Norton. Elements of fantasy, music, and joy are included in the original production.

Public Works Dallas

The film takes the place of DTC’s annual Public Works Dallas summer pageant production. Previous productions brought 200+ community members to perform a large-scale musical theater production at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Due to the pandemic, DTC, SMU Meadows School of the Arts and Ignite/Arts Dallas, and the Drama League joined with their community partners to create a filmed production. Community partners included Bachman Lake Together, City of Dallas Park & Recreation Department, and Jubilee Park & Community Center.

“Dallas Theater Center’s Department of Public Works brings to life DTC’s belief that theater is the birthright of everyone in a democracy,” said Kevin Moriarty, Enloe/Rose Artistic Director. “Each summer, participants who range in age from grade school students to senior citizens come together to engage in a production that demonstrates the power of collaboration, the joy of acting, singing and dancing, and the strength of our community when we come together for shared experiences. Though the pandemic prevented us from producing our annual indoor musical this summer, our community created an original filmed piece instead. As such, A Little Less Lonely is both a celebration of the artistry that lives within everyone and a sign of our community’s resilience in the face of adversity.”

“A Little Less Lonely”

The film starts in a virtual Zoom world, which so many have become familiar with during the pandemic. It then magically transitions into a fantastical dream world that embodies the community’s hopes for the post-pandemic future. The production combines scenes filmed on Zoom from each participants’ homes, interspersed with fantasy scenes filmed outdoors on location at various community venues.

Bachman Lake Together, Janie C. Turner Recreation Center, and Jubilee Park & Community Center are the featured sites. Three distinct age groups – Little One, Middle Ones, and Prime, are featured in the project. Each shooting location provides the perspective of a different age group.

Tatyana-Marie Carlo, recipient of the Drama League’s national Public Works Fellowship, began directing the production from her home in Rhode Island. She then came to Dallas for filming and technical rehearsals with the cast. The community actors rehearsed most of the summer, coming together at the end of July for outdoor filming sessions at the community partner sites. Masks and social distancing were designed to fit within the fantasy world of the story. The production is bilingual, with Spanish and English spoken throughout the show.

“I am so proud of what the creative and production teams and our performers accomplished,” said Maria Calderon, Public Works Dallas Coordinator. “This project celebrates that we really are better together, and even if we speak different languages, we are able to do great things.”

Dallas Theater Center

The production features a few special cameos for fans of DTC. The project brought members of the community together, and helped make families and friendships stronger. Several family members, including cast members Dionne Davis and her mother, worked together on the production. Davis kept a blog throughout the production so people could see the production from her perspective.

A Little Less Lonely by DTC and Public Works Dallas
Photo: Imani Thomas

“Community is a feeling too. Eight weeks on Zoom preceded tech rehearsal and filming in the park on campus at Janie. C. Turner Recreation Center. Performers, volunteers, and production crews moved in concert with young men playing basketball, cheerleading campers, families walking their dogs and children enjoying bursts of water on two hot summer days. It was exhausting, but the absolute best feeling,” said Dionne Davis, A Little Less Lonely.

The film is available on YouTube and Vimeo through Dallas Theater Center’’s website on August 10. To learn more about DTC’s year-round Public Works Dallas programming or “A LIttle Less Lonely,” visit dallalstheatercenter.org.

Dallas Theater Center (DTC) is one of the leading regional theaters in the country and the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award® Recipient. They perform to over 100,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. The Mainstage season is held at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre and its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater.