BWW Blog: An Unexpected Intermission
Most, if not all Musical Theatre students at my school, Anderson University, were heartbroken after receiving the school president's email that we would not be returning to campus after Spring Break. Not only did this mean our classes would move to the online format, but our last musical of the year, our seniors' last musical of their college career, would cease to exist before even getting to open.
The uncertainty in how my classes like Acting, Ballet, Tap, and voice lessons would be conducted online and in my own home encouraged apprehension. But, as artists, we are taught to handle whatever is thrown at us, as this industry is incredibly unpredictable and ever changing. With this mindset, I dug into my classes, taking ballet barre with a kitchen table chair and recording numerous monologue videos until I created my best work to submit. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying and appreciating this new way of learning. It provided me with opportunities to watch my work, decide what I liked and didn't like, and change it before submitting for my professors and classmates to see. I learned how to create visually-appealing self-tape videos, which one of my professors believes will become a popular audition format. Yes, a certain level of urgency was lost in not performing in front of a live audience and receiving feedback in person, but the opportunities the online learning experience provided will not idle or go unappreciated in my education. That being said, I look forward to the day I can sit in a classroom and watch my classmates and professors think and work and discover in person.
Possibly the most painful loss for myself and my classmates that many other MT students around the world have experienced as well is that of a show. We were expecting to open our production of "South Pacific" in a month when we had to leave campus. We had no idea that our first run-through of the show with costumes and props would be our last rehearsal completely. I'm incredibly grateful for that run-through and the experience of putting that show together with so many classmates I admire and love working with, despite its early termination. It hurt knowing that our hard work and time put in to make a beautiful piece of theatre would never touch an audience like it should have. But, I believe theatre isn't solely meant to touch audiences and viewers, but actors and production teams just as much. In the time we spent rehearsing blocking, choreography, and music, we formed relationships with each other, the text, and our characters. We learned more about our art and ourselves as artists. I grew a stronger appreciation for the show and my fellow actors. I can't speak for my castmates, but the process of putting "South Pacific" together touched me, and that makes this unfortunate situation a little more bearable.
Despite the unforeseen future and the unexpected end to this school year, I am hopeful with what some might call "cockeyed optimism" that theatre and the performing arts will continue to reach and touch people across the world, no matter the circumstances.