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BWW Blog: Remaining Active in the Arts Through a Pandemic

A list of my favorite ways to stay together while we are apart.

With theatres shuttered since March of 2020, it has been a long eleven months without live performances; therefore, it has been a long eleven months without that unmatched, incredible feeling of producing a show in-person with people who all share the same passion of creating and storytelling. Specifically for me, this caused a lot of guilt and laziness-- I felt like I wasn't doing enough, rehearsing enough, working as hard as I should have been. However, as the months progressed and things only worsened, I learned that living through a pandemic is hard, and I need to give myself a break-- I also learned that there are several different ways to still be involved within the arts and easy, creative outlets that still help evoke those one-of-a-kind feelings that theatre brings, and I'm here to share some of my favorites with you!

  1. Write! In my opinion, as an actor, writing a script yourself is one of the best ways to not only then be able to analyze and read texts more authentically, but it also allows you to apply technical skills found in scripts, which may prove more challenging to write than you'd like think; for example, writing character description, stage directions, blueprints, and an index for how you envision the stage and the overall point-of-attack for the production. Writing dialogue, I find, also helps to enhance and sharpen your improv skills-- you are still writing and coming up with what will happen next all on your own, but you have enough time to think and re-write and really make the most out of every line; I find it very beneficial for improv (specifically comedy) because it helps you find a rhythm and a sense of what lines will work and which ones might not progress the story as much as you might think! So, write (personally, this one is my favorite!)

  2. Practice Music Theory. This one was a tough one to type-- Music Theory will be my demise. Sight-reading and sight-singing are some of my own personal skills that will constantly need to be worked on; however, through the use of several different websites (you can just search up Music Theory exercises on the internet!) I have found myself constantly improving on everything sheet-music related! To quote a fellow classmate of mine in the University of Utah's Musical Theatre Program, Sophia Campagna: "Music Theory makes me cry. Not in a good way. But I'd rather cry for hours in my room working on improving than in the middle of a callback when they ask me to sight-sing."

  3. Learn to play an instrument (I recommend the piano)! I had never taken Music Theory before I entered the University of Utah's MTP, so it was a bit daunting; however, I had taken several piano classes throughout middle and high school, and I found that I knew a little more than I thought. If you can identify and play major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords and triads on the piano, you have a solid foundation for learning Music Theory-- those same chords and notes show up time and time again, and soon it becomes muscle memory! (Also, study your key signatures-- it helps. Like, a lot.)

  4. Watch performances! I'm a super visual learner, so watching professionally recorded musicals or film-adaptations or even just regular television shows is one of the best forms of learning whenever I'm not in school! Constantly observing the actors and watching their technique and ability is one of the best ways to compare and apply it to your own! I learn a lot from watching, and it feels especially cool to directly see techniques that I'm learning in my university being used by professional actors on Broadway or within television. There are also a lot of sources, especially on YouTube, that go behind-the-scenes that can teach a lot about the way things work! So when it is safe again and theatre doors are re-opened, you will have a better sense of the way things work and what to expect if you plan on pursuing a career in this industry!

This past year has been especially hard for the theatre community, but there are still several ways to become involved and to constantly be working, so it'll feel as if no time has passed whenever we can all safely return to the stage (or whichever part of the theatre you feel most at home!). There are lots of different ways to really continue to hone your skills and craft, but the ones listed above are a few of my favorites, and they're what have worked best for me; however, these are not all of them, and everybody is different, so hopefully these help create some ideas of what will work best for you! Theatre is everywhere, and even though we are apart now, the love and passion of creating and making art is what brings us all together.

(Hey! My name is Bryce Romleski, and I am a freshman in the University of Utah's Musical Theatre Program! I just joined BroadwayWorld as a Student Blogger, and I would love to talk and answer any questions about theatre/the Musical Theatre Program/anything! My Instagram is @bryceromleski. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you again soon!)

Bryce


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From This Author Student Blogger: Bryce Romleski