Since the pandemic began, one of the things I’ve missed about no longer being able to be within six feet of anyone else is attending theater shows. There’s nothing like grabbing a free REP (Resident Ensemble Players) ticket from the Honors College building for one of their Honors at the Arts opportunities and heading to the Roselle Center for the Arts for an evening of theater. I also really enjoy attending shows put on by E52, a student theater group at UD! Sadly, I can no longer head to the Bacchus Theater or Pearson Hall to see a student-run show, but I have been enjoying theater from both the REP and E52 from my safely distanced couch!
This semester, the REP (UD’s very own professional theater company) is not to be stopped by COVID! In September, they put on a free, one-act, comedic Zoom play titled “Who’s in Charge” that recounted a meeting of all of the REP actors and the REP Producing Artistic Director so that they could decide what they would perform this semester. This play definitely did not disappoint—as always, the actors were spot on, and I was laughing the whole time! I’ve also really been enjoying the REP’s free audio presentation of Dracula, based on Bram Stoker’s novel. I’ve never listened to an audio performance of theater before, but the characters and story really come to life in this perfectly creepy, five-part adaptation—I would definitely recommend grabbing some garlic and taking a listen!
If you want to join in on the REP’s performances this semester, Dracula is still streaming on their website until November 22: https://www.rep.udel.edu/presentations/dracula. Until November 22, they also are currently offering another audio performance called Are you Now or Have You Ever Been, a fictional portrayal of the night in March of 1953 before Langston Hughes must answer to the Subcommittee on Investigations on Un-American Activities during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt: https://www.rep.udel.edu/presentations/are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been (I’m looking forward to listening to this one!). Later on, in December, the REP will also be offering an audio performance of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to put you in the holiday spirit: https://www.rep.udel.edu/presentations/a-christmas-carol.
Besides the REP, I have also been keeping up with E52’s virtual shows this semester! At the end of October, they put on their annual SAST (Short Attention Span Theater) show, which includes six student-written, student-directed, one-act plays. This year, SAST was performed on Zoom, and it was really impressive how E52 was able to put together such an amazing production virtually full of laughs, touching moments, and Zoom backgrounds.
If you’re interested in what else E52 has to offer this semester, they are currently starting a podcast called Centerstage with Spinalzo, starring Avery Houle, Tess Edwards, and Amanda Kovaleski. The podcast will discuss everything theater-related, from things like favorite backstage moments to how the proposal process works. Stay tuned on the E52 Instagram (@e52studenttheatre) or their website (https://www.e52theatre.com/) for news of when the podcast drops, which is planned to be released on Spotify and possibly the Apple podcast app!
While the pandemic may be preventing us from gathering in an auditorium together, we can still enjoy theater from afar in new formats, like audio performances and Zoom plays, which even bring an exciting new element to the performances! If you’re looking to satisfy a shortage of theater in your life or just want to try something new over Thanksgiving break, check out these theater-going opportunities for some (safe) theater entertainment!
Image from the Resident Ensemble Players website: https://www.rep.udel.edu/
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- “Theater-Going during a Pandemic ” by Hayley Whiting - November 17, 2020