Not even a worldwide pandemic can stop theater people from doing their thing, as demonstrated by such events as Harlequin Productions’ ongoing radio web series of theatrical shows and Pug Bujeaud’s Zoom performance of her drama The Culling. And now comes The Driftwood Bridge - An Offering of Story and Song by David Mielke and his husband Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma.
This cabaret-style musical can now be seen free of charge online.
The show started as something the couple wrote and performed for their wedding guests in 2018 at Open Space for Arts and Community on Vashon Island. It quickly evolved into a full professional theatrical production that was staged in November of 2019 in the Kay White Hall at the Vashon Center for the Arts. At the time it was called Gaybaret.
It was scheduled for a five week-run in Seattle at the 12th Avenue Arts Studio Theater but had to be rescheduled because of the pandemic.
“Due to heartfelt requests from previous audience members who want to share the show with their friends, we've decided to make The Driftwood Bridge available to theatre audiences free on-demand online by streaming the production we filmed in November,” Mielke says. “Since it touches on themes that have become even more relevant in these challenging times, we wanted to make it available in people’s homes.”
Mielke explains: “The Driftwood Bridge is a two-person theatrical and musical memoir about taking experiences that wash up on the existential beaches of our lives and using them to build a bridge to carry us forward. The show explores life after loss, intergenerational forgiveness, and the ways mentors and friends help us feel ready to say yes to love—gay, straight, or otherwise.”
With Pruiksma on piano, each performer alternately tells their own story and sings songs—about letting go of old shame, learning to trust, and acknowledging the mystery of life. As with many rituals honoring what is known but unseen, the show bows to the joyful play of what seems to be serendipity.
“There’s a thread running through the show about openness to wonder, to the poetry of lived life,” Pruiksma says. “Our experiences may appear to be chaotic and random, but often there is some more mysterious pattern we can see or help to create that leads to unexpected gifts.”
The show continues until December 31, on driftwoodbridge.com, where Mielke and Pruiksma are also showcasing another Covid-coping endeavor, a video series they've produced called Broadway in the Yurt, recently featured in the "Modern Love" column of the New York Times.