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BWW Blog: Production in a Pandemic

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I can only hope that more companies will take this step.

BWW Blog: Production in a Pandemic

Since the beginning of this Fall semester, I've been working on a particularly robust capstone. Like anyone else in my shoes, I'm feeling a little stressed! This semester has been a time for self-reflection, and I can honestly say that I have learned a lot about myself from handling my first of two capstones online. Even before the semester began, I had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization known as Artistic Prosperity which has created a fully Zoom-based production of Rossum's Universal Robots. I was enlisted as social media manager for the project and I've since learned a great deal about how the process of creating a production under these circumstances works, as well as the learning curve behind it.

Classes began to disburse to online schooling in March at my university, and like everyone else I was absolutely crushed. We were all put into a situation with no ideas as to when we would go back to in-person learning, and we are still struggling to figure that out in our Fall semester. I knew about Artistic Prosperity's project for quite some time, but my involvement began after the decision was made to continue with the production on Zoom. I had the opportunity to sit in on one of their rehearsals and it flowed similarly to a traditional rehearsal in-person. The agreed-upon rules of theatre were still set in place, such as continuing through mistakes and looking back on it after. It further confirmed the idea to me that theatre doesn't have to come to a complete halt because of the pandemic. There is a way to safely perform and that is through Zoom-based productions.

While this would undoubtedly be difficult for musicals due to the inclusion of musical instruments and the distortion of their sound, many plays could still be produced so long as actors were given access to a green screen, their props, and their script. With this newfound idea, there were bumps just like any other show. Technical difficulties were bound to occur, but they were handled quickly. With each hurdle, Artistic Prosperity has managed to either find a solution or a compromise that would help the show to go on as planned. On October 4th, we saw the release of R.U.R.'s first episode! To watch Artistic Prosperity finally showcase their hard work on this production was a genuine honor and I hope that more theatre companies will consider this method rather than outright canceling their projects.

Over the course of the past three months, I have watched this production of Rossum's Universal Robots soar to heights I hadn't expected to ever come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided me with hope that people will see Artistic Prosperity's production and take inspiration from it, either from the story or from the progress they made with showcasing how Zoom-based theatre productions are possible. As someone who adores theatre and sincerely misses watching shows in-person, it brings me an endless amount of joy to even consider the idea that this doesn't have to be the end of new productions. While Broadway may be closed until the end of May 2021 now, a new door has been opened to potentially fill the void until in-person productions can be done safely again. I can only hope that more companies will take this step.

If interested in checking out the production, here's the first episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uLkL-W9yZg


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