COVID-19 has presented certain challenges for ISU Theatre and Performing Arts students and faculty.
Like many programs on campus, ISU Theatre had to make many changes to ensure safety for all students, participants and faculty. With some classes online and others structured by safety guidelines, the intimate and personable settings the program was familiar with were uprooted.
The 2020 performance season was based on the theme “Seasons of Invitation.” The season focuses on projects that are safe for audiences and ISU Theatre members who shine light on creative forms of theatrical expression.
Brad Dell, ISU Theatre director, said he thinks this semester, while different than others, is a time to celebrate theater in a very open-minded environment.
“We are, in this moment, invited to reimagine not only how theater works — but I think also to, in a lot of ways, reimagine how humanity works, how society works," Dell said. "It really became a kind of invitation to look at everything holistically.”
“Perform the Protest: A Theatre Action for our Time” was featured by ISU Theatre earlier this semester. The event consisted of stories put together by students that focused on the voices responding to current events. Rehearsals for the project were predominantly virtual. The performances were Sept. 23 through 26 and were performed outdoors and online.
Among the cast was Heaven Booker, a sophomore in performing arts. This year, Booker is also serving as a theater ambassador for the program. She is completing classes and projects that are facilitated both online and in-person this semester.
Booker said COVID-19 inflicted complications on the program.
“I wanted to be able to still perform and do theater," Booker said. "… I didn't want it to completely go away.”
Booker is set to perform in the virtual presentation of the play "Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea," written by Julia Izumi and directed by Arpita Mukherjee. The performance will be Nov. 6 and 7 over Zoom.
Lena Menefee-Cook, senior in art and design, is taking all of her classes virtually this semester.
“I’m really thankful for how flexible the theater professors have been with developing classes that both deliver the content and give a lot of opportunities to explore and work on the craft of acting, theater history, etc.,” Menefee-Cook said.
Menefee-Cook is also acting in "Sometime the Rain, Sometimes the Sea." She is a project facilitator for "Of the Deep: Meditations Upon the Death of a Blue Whale." This project is a collection of short shadow-puppet films that all connect on the story of a blue whale washing up on shore. The project will be streamed virtually Oct. 23 through Nov. 1.
This year’s theatrical season also includes "Our Community Carol." This video project will be streamed in December.
To learn more about ISU Theatre and the theater season, visit their website.