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BWW Blog: Zoom University, Department of Performing Arts

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Oh my goodness, my first post! I'm so excited to share my thoughts and ideas with all of you. First off, I would like to look back on the past semester. Other than my quarantine extracurriculars, which have included knitting, reading, hiking, watching Netflix, and "not" watching shady bootlegs with my brother via google meet (cough cough), I still had to finish up the last two months of my sophomore year.

The transition online was a bit of a mixed bag, as I am a double major in both Musical Theatre as well as Public Relations and Strategic Communications. While my Communications classes were not very different online, my theatre professors and classes had to get a bit more creative.
For some courses, it was not difficult to make the switch. For example, my stage management class did not change that much. We received lecture notes every week and created our final projects, a full SM's book for act three of Our Town (my contact sheet may have included Tom Holland as my George Gibbs). While it was certainly more challenging than it may have been to do it in person, I feel prepared for when I eventually will have to stage-manage or assistant stage manage a department show.

Voice lessons were a little more tricky. Quarantining with five people in a very echoey house, it took a lot of coordination to make sure that I was not disturbing anyone's work or class. When classes first were switched online, I checked with everyone in the house that my weekly Zoom lesson with my voice professor was an ok time to be loud. When my singing was not for a grade, it would be a little secret between me, my bedroom, and my Belt Box.

The class whose syllabus changed the most was definitely my scene study class. After all, it's hard to do physicalization through a screen! However, my professor took this into account and created new assignments for the remainder of the semester. One of these new projects was built upon scenes that we had been assigned before the transition online. Our job was to write a monologue for the character we were assigned that would take place during a moment we don't normally see onstage. I was assigned the role of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, and I chose the moment when Amanda and Tom hide in the kitchen to give Jim and Laura some alone time. My monologue was Amanda washing the dishes and talking to Tom, ecstatic about Jim and Laura's future.

When it came to my turn to perform, I do admit that I went a little bit extra. The kitchen counter in my house has a second shelf that hangs over the kitchen sink. So, I set my laptop up on the shelf, turned on the water, and actually washed a dish while I performed. It helped me stay focused because I had something to do with my hands. We read Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting earlier in the semester, and actually washing a dish really put into practice one of her teachings, to always use real props whenever it is safe and possible.

While taking theatre classes in the quarantine was challenging, my professors and classmates truly made the most of it. I want to thank them for their creativity, artistry, and dedication. They made this semester, albeit not what we expected, memorable and educational.

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