The show must go on: Cal State LA’s Department of Theatre and Dance moves plays to virtual

The+theater+department+rehearses+and+practices+using+Open+Broadcaster+Software+%28OBS%29+to+create+backgrounds+for+the+first+upcoming+play.+Photo+Meredith+Greenburg.

The theater department rehearses and practices using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) to create backgrounds for the first upcoming play. Photo Meredith Greenburg.

Lurdes Villalpando, Intern Reporter

The pandemic led events to be canceled, but that was not enough to keep the Department of Theatre and Dance down. 

Department chair Meredith Greenburg has been working with the cast and staff members remotely through Zoom to bring these four productions to light. Although the student actors and staff are familiar with performing in the theater, they’ll venture into new territory this semester.

“Every student actor is going to be in their own home and performing in their own home,” said Greensburg.

Since the productions will stream live, a software called Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) will be used to create the image of the actors being in the actual scene, rather than in their living rooms or bedrooms.

“The technical rehearsals and performances won’t actually happen in Zoom, they’re going to happen through an operating system through a software called OBS,” said guest-star director Jonathan Munoz-Proulx. He added that OBS creates a fantastic picture for the audience to see, as it manipulates the background, which produces a realistic scene.

The preparation process before the live events has been challenging for the cast and staff members, as many of the actors had to pick up the theater equipment and set up by themselves. 

“It was definitely a challenge because I’m not a very technical person. What helped was that we had people like our stage manager who would give advice [and] we would share information with each other,” said Jeremy Loechner, a student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts.

Actors now practice how to work with a computer screen for these new productions. They are told to look directly at the camera when speaking to the other actors, as opposed to looking at the actual person on the screen. 

Greenburg felt it was important that theater students had the chance to perform, despite the unprecedented times. She added, “I think it’s a matter of having the students understand that their craft [and] their art is still viable.” 

Proulx agreed that it is important for theater students to continue practicing. “My priority is actually how do we support these young or emerging student artists, in exercising and practicing their craft?” He likened it to athletes who continue to train and said the same should go for theater students.

Loechner will play Christopher for an upcoming play called, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” He mentioned how the play is a personal project of his.

He said he wants people to have an “understanding of those who have so-called invisible disabilities, to recognize that just because someone might be different, it doesn’t make them less.” 

All plays will be free and reservations are available for the first play. The upcoming plays along with the performance schedule is as follows:

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Dates and times:

Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

 

Another F Word

Dates and times: 

Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 1 at 3 p.m.

 

War of the Worlds

Dates and times: 

Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

 

Right Now

Dates and times: 

Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. 

Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m and 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec.r 10 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.