COVID-19 has been a tremendous problem for the performing arts department. Normal theatrics have become impossible. The statewide shutdown has prevented nearly all normal activity for the LPC Performing Arts Program. However, the students and instructors of Performing Arts are busily working to make a remote performance of “Romeo and Juliet” a reality.
In previous years, students of performing arts have worked in hands-on productions. Face-to-face interaction is a necessity for any brick and mortar theater production. This requirement presents a problem for present-day performing arts.
Without the ease of communication allowed by a physical theatre, theatrical productions cannot be produced by normal means. Ordinary theater production requires the collaboration of actors, designers, directors and various technicians. Tasks need to be communicated effectively. Due to present circumstances, this has become extremely difficult.
Gatherings are necessary to facilitate performance and theatrical collaboration, but they have become too dangerous to hold. As such, in-person theater productions have ceased. However, all is not lost.
The students and professors of performing arts at LPC have come up with creative solutions and workarounds to keep their classes and productions going. Careful planning allows instructors to keep classes going that would usually seem impossible.
In efforts to ensure students of performing arts can still learn and gain theater experience, instructors have readjusted classes and for some classes, even mailed out supplies.
“We’ve had to spend a lot of time creating the feeling of theater in a really different space … There has been a real shift, I think, in our program to focus on connection and character and relationships and narrative and experience and less on the final product,” said Titian Lish, coordinator of Theater and Performing Arts at LPC.
Lish and other professors hope that focusing on the theater experience will help students engage with the core of performing arts. However, focus on the experience does not mean that there will not be a final product.
The Theater Program has announced a production of “Romeo and Juliet” coming fall 2020. The performance will be shaped by the atypical circumstances and difficulties of theater in the present year. It is going to be planned, prepared and performed without any in-person contact. The show will be a new experience for many students and instructors in the program. Organizers hope that the experience will provide students with a novel and positive substitute for the normal theater experience.
The production will be distinct from both traditional theatre and film. Normal staging and set design is currently impossible, as “Romeo and Juliet” will be performed digitally. But, the show will not be firmly within the realm of recorded film either. Instead, Professor Lish hopes that aspects of both will be well incorporated into a “hybrid” performance.
Through their own hard work and ingenuity, the students and heads of the LPC Theater Program are hoping to produce a unique performance. Though the day of the performance is yet to be announced, keep a lookout for LPC Theater’s “Romeo and Juliet” scheduled for October 2020.
Han Nelson is the A&E Editor of The Express. Follow him @SCP_TLDR.