Spark plans in the works

July 17, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY OLIVIA CAMERON- When diving into the thoughts of local Spark Boca Grande founder and CEO Erica Ress Martin, there’s much planning to be done in spite of the all-encompassing pandemic. 
“I currently have a two-track system,” said Martin, referring to the two ways she would like to take the Island’s path of at-home entertainment.
Martin is eager to release the word on the upcoming opportunity for playwrights to get involved with Spark in what is called the “New Works Workshop.” The New Works Workshop will ultimately allow playwrights aged 50 and up to submit their projects from any location, with compensation paid to both the playwright and director of each internet performance.
Martin will be looking for plays that would last roughly an hour, with at least six characters. Due to the lack of set changes in a Zoom performance, the plays are to be dialogue-driven.
“I’m sure there are talented kids out there, but I’d like to focus on sparking someone’s creativity in the senior division,” said Martin.
With the Spark cast, she plans to produce a livestream broadcast of each read-through from the submission once every six to eight weeks. This would ensure that the cast has enough rehearsal time and communication between the actors, director and writer. 
Not only does Martin plan to implement the livestream performances on the Spark Boca Grande TV YouTube channel, but she has also been envisioning her spin-off of “The Golden Girls.”
“The Boca Boys” will be a spoof of the classic sitcom, and is set to begin shooting in the upcoming weeks. “It’s the story of four men living in Boca Bay during the pandemic. I plan to make ten-minute segments, which will be released on the channel.” So far, Martin has cast two characters and is hoping to include guest actors in the cast as well.
Martin has found new material for the production while cooped up at home during the resurgence of COVID cases. The restless feeling of being stuck in one position is what she hopes to portray in a comical branch.
Martin feels the series will be reminiscent of her former role in “The Boca Girls,” performed on behalf of Royal Palm Players in 2018.
The group of actors has become acquainted with the process of rehearsing online and is eager to supply the next form of distant entertainment. 
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be an easy season next year,” said Martin. “We may remain online until next spring, so we might as well carve out a way to keep everyone entertained.”