Since the reopening of the CSUSM, students and faculty have had to find ways to adjust to school while trying to get back to normal life. However, the pandemic has affected all students and introduced new challenges for ensuring the safety and health of students and staff, while giving students the opportunity to learn in a traditional, face-to-face environment. On September 30, we had the opportunity to interview Drama Club President Edrick Agustin to see how COVID-19 is affecting the in-person performances of performing arts majors.
I wanted to start by introducing you a little. What is your year and major?
I’m a fifth year major in Communication with Minors in Theater and Visual Performing Arts. Along with communication, he mainly focuses on media studies [and] how the media affects people. And with theater and the performing arts, it’s more about asking ‘how does art fundamentally affect people emotionally, spiritually or in any way’.
Did you play during the COVID era entirely online? If so, how was it?
We did productions with actors on Zoom, so we weren’t completely out of the job. We used Zoom as a way to play without being in close physical contact to be safe. “
It was definitely more laid back. For example, it didn’t seem like such a big issue for me personally, however, every performer is different, so I can only speak for myself. But, I can definitely say it felt more like a casual phone call, basically a scripted FaceTime call. It was different and, in my opinion, it was not as pleasant.
But, there are still some creative things you can do through Zoom. For example, we used different filters and backgrounds for different characters, working with what we had.
Has it ever been difficult to gauge the audience via Zoom?
Absoutely. We could have had the audience cameras on, but we were confident we were doing a good job. Because what often happens is in a Zoom call, a person accidentally coughs, then their screen comes to the front as a speaker. And it’s not that they want to heckle, it’s just that when you have a bigger microphone, any little thing gets amplified.
It’s no one’s fault, no one wants to be mean, but sometimes someone would cough, then a random man’s screen would pop up for a second, and the audience didn’t know if he was part of it. of the room. But no, he’s not one of them, he’s just someone with a tickle in their throat.
How does it feel to be able to play in front of people now?
It’s strange. Because after a year and a half I feel like I have lost all sense of social skills. There was a point when I got back to campus, I realized “wow, people are in 3D! There are real human beings who are not on a screen! ‘
Going from a pandemic after a year and a half to actually looking at people with depth perception was a strange thing.
And also, with the show, I think a lot of people aren’t used to it. So with the Théâtre Club, we meet every Friday at Arts 111 to have open microphones. I think it helps theater students get used to performing in front of a live audience again, especially since it’s in a smaller face-to-face setting.
While it’s great that we’re playing in front of people again, it’s like working a muscle that you haven’t worked. It’s good, but it just takes time.
How do security measures affect performance in front of people?
Well for starters, you can’t do so many kissing scenes; we’re not too comfortable with it. It’s scary when there are more intimate scenes that have to be really close to someone. We have this thing in the theater like with Hatmaker’s Wife where some performers are allowed not to wear masks with the consent of the school and the drama department only as long as everyone in the cast has been vaccinated.
“How does he behave in front of people now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic? ”
I think by performing in front of people now in the context of the pandemic, even if there is a vaccine, there will always be a level of fear about COVID-19. It’s also different in the sense that for all theatrical performances, we have to wear a mask for our safety and that of others. It’s weird when you play and wear a mask and then you look outside and see a sea of faces with masks on as well.
And what’s important with live performances, at least for me, is everyone’s reaction. Whether audible or physical. It is certainly the fear of medical safety that keeps us from living in the present moment, but we feel safe in spaces again, even when there are a lot of people.
With The hatter’s wife there were a few scenes where the characters were kissing, and even though i wasn’t on that show when i was watching her as an audience member i had a mini heart attack thinking ‘infection, imminent “. But after knowing that everyone was vaccinated I felt better, but I think in the context of the state of the world there will be a certain level of anxiety.
But with the Theater Club, we do our best to work with what we have. We try to find students who like the medium, including people who aren’t even theater students. And no one needs to have talent, only creativity. There is no lack of it, I think everyone has a voice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably reshaped the idea of normalcy. For theater arts students such as Agustin and the Theater Club, students do their best to adapt and form a new concept of normalcy to fully enjoy the performance again.
The Cougar Chronicle: The Independent Student News Site at California State University, San Marcos