Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, couples are seeing a lot more of each other, singles are video dating, seniors are learning to communicate on Facetime and Zoom … and the Desert Ensemble Theatre Company (DETC) is turning it all into “Sheltering Stories,” an hourlong, web-based show of monologues, dialogues, and song.

Written by company members and other desert artists, the show — which has won a $1,500 “Keep Art Alive” grant from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) — consists of 5- to 15-minute vignettes addressing aspects of social distancing and self-isolation from dramatic and comic perspectives.

CDAC and affiliate La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works responding to the crisis.

When not under lockdown, DETC produces plays underscoring the complexity of human interaction, offers internships and scholarships to high school students who plan to continue their higher education in theatre arts.
The initial performance of “Sheltering Stories” will be a Zoom “conference,” which will be recorded and available online. Participating writers include Tony Padilla, Shawn Abramowitz, Jerome Elliott, and Phylicia Mason.

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