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BWW Blog: Back to the University Stage

Figuring out how to safely make pandemic theatre work.

BWW Blog: Back to the University Stage

If I thought back to one year ago, there is no way that I would picture myself where I am currently at. You are probably tired of hearing about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on theatre at this point, but in my first blog post, I want to offer a bit of hope. I am currently in my final semester at Boston College pursing my B.A. in Theatre and Communication. I am mainly a performer, but I also work in the Costume Shop of the Theatre Department and have dabbled in some other areas of behind-the-scenes work.

Every year, BC has three rounds of auditions, with several shows (both plays and musicals) casting during each round. Uncertainty of how auditions and the Theatre Department would look this year loomed over the heads of my peers and me throughout the summer and even throughout this current school year, with safety protocols constantly changing.

I bring this up because this past weekend was the final round of auditions for the year. I have eleven of these exciting, yet nerve-wrecking weekends under my belt. Now, my BC Theatre career has come to an end after one final round of auditions. Due to the pandemic, auditions were different this year than they have been in the past. Usually, as soon as audition sign-ups are posted in the back hallways of the Robsham Theater Arts Center, students rush over with a pen in hand to get their name down for the perfect audition slot. A typical BC Theatre audition weekend could entail auditioning for as many as four shows, so time management was essential

Of course, this year was different. The initial audition was no longer in person, but rather virtually through a Google form. I recorded my audition monologue in my apartment, the only place on campus that I am able to take my mask off. I uploaded the video to my computer on a Friday afternoon, filled out the Google form, and hit submit. It was as easy as that! After that part was done, I just waited for the callback list to come out.

We were lucky enough to have callbacks in-person, as we were all socially distanced and wearing masks. The rush that I got from getting back to performing again was indescribable. For a while, I could not picture a day in the near future that I would get to perform live again. Getting to be in a casting room again was so energizing.

I then received an email on the night after we had callbacks informing me that I was cast in a play! All of the shows in the remainder of the Boston College Theatre season are producing their shows in different ways, all very safely and creatively. The show that I am in will be performed on our Main Stage, with the whole cast wearing masks while each of the five performances are livestreamed for free to anyone who wishes to view them.

I am so excited to start rehearsals for my final show at Boston College! I have gotten the opportunity to work with so many incredible people over these past four years and I have learned so much from all of them. I am inspired by my Theatre Department's commitment to keeping theatre alive and well in these times, but also their commitment to keeping it safe and making sure everyone involved in the process is comfortable. All of this reminds me that I will never take another day at the theater for granted.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Kyle Ronkin