Theater department expands their performances to online “variety show”

Change seems to be the theme of the school year so far, and the theater department is no exception to this. In order to follow COVID-19 guidelines, the theater department made the decision to move to strictly online performances. Theatre Adjunct Sam Cordes created a plan for a monthly livestreamed variety program to give students the opportunity to submit their own original content.

Each addition of the show will have a theme, the first being “Waiting For Something.” The first addition of the show will be livestreamed through Facebook on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. The show will then be posted to YouTube for later viewing.

Cordes hopes to provide a platform for students to express themselves creatively through mediums that speak to them personally.

“This is basically asking the students, ‘what are you thinking right now? What do you need to express?’ And then challenging them to find creative ways to do that. It could be making a short film, making a music video, writing a song or a piece of poetry, creating a set or painting a picture. Whatever it is, we want to see it,” Cordes said.

Cordes is also excited for the new learning opportunities that the show will offer students in regards to technological  advances within the theater community. This production will have the potential to teach students vital skills that they can take with them into their future.

“We cannot be afraid of the fact that technology is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives, especially in the theater. This project should become an outlet for the students, and prepare them for a world in which I do 75% of my auditions via the internet. So, I say we have to jump on that bandwagon and get good at it,” Cordes said.

While students are feeling the loss of the in-person performance experience, many agree with Cordes’ views on technology and are already looking forward to the new skills they will have the chance to develop, including senior Kelli Brichacek.

“I miss the audition process, the rehearsals and sharing a space with people. But we hope students can develop more skills that are outside just live acting, especially our generation since we were already headed down the technology route. Giving us experience filming, editing the film, doing audio and seeing how we can use our skills in different life routes has been honestly kind of awesome,” Brichacek said.

Brichacek has been actively involved in live performances with the theater throughout the last four years, but they are excited for the chance to further explore their passion for film by submitting a short film to the variety show.

“I’ve always been interested in television, and I’ve always thought being an actor for a television show or a movie would be really cool, so getting the camera work experience is important. I’m really looking forward to all the steps to producing a film — the brainstorming, the casting and actually filming and editing,” Brichacek said.

The theater department is continuing to press on with a positive attitude, looking forward to learning new lessons. This is exciting for the students and faculty alike, especially Dr. Annette Vargas, the chair of the theater department.

“I am so excited that they have been able to be flexible and creative. And to be honest those are just the skills they are going to need when they leave here if the pandemic didn’t happen. I am so proud that they have been able to think outside the box and allow themselves to try something different,” Vargas said.