The Lewis & Clark theatre department has traditionally offered in-person events to the Palatine Hill community. However, as a result of the pandemic, the department has been forced to alter the way the theatre program operates. Using innovative methods, they have been able to move forward with some exciting and fun events this semester.
“Obviously, everything is necessarily different, but I for one am totally reinvigorated every time I get to do theatre with all the people who populate the department or have come in to give it a try,” Ava Schmidt ’23 said. “In this time, it has been the most amazing reminder of how human we are and how much connection can come from this art.”
Every semester, the department hosts “Once Upon a Weekend,” where according to Professor of Theatre Štěpán Šimek, students get the chance to explore their creative side by writing plays centered on very specific themes.
Students write, act and audition for these plays all at the beginning of the week and then present them on the weekend, so the turnaround is quick. “Once Upon a Weekend” was live streamed on Feb. 26 with the theme “Sins Not Tragedies,” in a showcase of inventive production.
This semester, the theatre department will also present a mainstage production of “The Secretaries,” a nine-student play that will be performed for a small theater audience and livestreamed on the department’s website.
“This is a wild play,” Schmidt said. “It’s unlike anything we’ve done here at LC, and we’re even performing it in the Black Box theatre space for a change.”
In April, the theatre department will host its student theses. These student-led productions will range from an original joint directing and acting production to dance performances about a woman chasing her shadow.
“I am working as a stage manager for (theses),” Schmidt said. “And I can tell you everyone is working so hard and it’s a great chance to see how much the students have learned and their own amazing theatre visions.”
Finally, toward the end of the semester, the department will host Dance Y, a student-led production, entirely online.
“It’s a great showcase of talent and of courage, in my opinion, and you should all tune in,” Schmidt said.
In conjunction with the rest of LC, the theatre department has made large adjustments due to the pandemic. This includes moving traditionally in-person events online, staying socially-distanced and requiring individuals to wear masks even when performing. However, they have been able to overcome those challenges through creativity and vision.
“It’s really important to note that the theatre department, we just decided at the beginning of the semester, at the beginning of the year, that nothing will stop us, we will just do it,” Šimek said. “We will figure out ways as to how to continue creating theatre and being creative.”
Students can access all of these live performances through the theatre department website.