The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Virtual stage spotlights new student productions

Photo by cottonbro on pexels. Image of a theatre curtain.

Jose Romero
senior editor

The Festival of New Plays: A digital theatre production.

Seeking acceptance from a parent, the challenges of performing a virtual play and life’s adversity are topics SE Drama’s ninth annual Festival of New Plays will cover.

Three digital performances will stream for free from April 26 to May 5 on the event’s LibGuide website. The plays selected are “30 Seconds” by Jesse Humphreys, “Saying Everything and Nothing” by Sarah Chavez-Reckling and “Who’s Dead — Cut!” by Quanard Carter. 

“30 Seconds” highlights life’s ups and downs and discusses how unexpected change can come out of nowhere. “Saying Everything and Nothing” deals with a mother’s struggle to support her daughter’s engagement to another woman because it conflicts with her religious and moral beliefs. “Who’s Dead — Cut!” pokes fun at the challenges associated with producing virtual productions during the pandemic. 

Putting on these shows has proven to be an obstacle for cast members and the production team. 

Quanard Carter wrote “Who’s Dead — Cut!” and said in an interview on the festival’s website that the writing process was difficult because he had to determine what does and does not work in a virtual format as well as what works in a live setting. To mitigate, he wrote the play in a way where it can be performed virtually or live on stage. 

“Here’s the beauty of this play,” Carter said. “We’ve adapted it, the script a little bit, to say that the reason it’s going wrong is because we’ve changed from being live to doing it on Zoom. But, if it was to be done live, we’d just do the original version where it’s just going wrong because it’s just going wrong.”

Theater director Angela Inman directed Carter’s play and said it was strange to do because it is not theater and it is not film.

“I had to get very creative with thinking about just how people could angle their bodies and the screen,” she said. “How close or how far away they were and what that might nonverbally say to the audience. So, I had to think about it in a whole different way than I might otherwise if I was doing live theater.”

Kristen Wirkler — actress for the character Mia in “Saying Everything and Nothing” — began doing theater in the seventh grade. She said she’s used to being on stage with a live audience and a person in front of her to interact with. In this format, she’s looking at a camera on her computer while acting out her scenes individually. 

Liberty Ward, actress for the director character in “Who’s Dead — Cut!” and Morgan in “30 Seconds,” said she’s been doing theater all her life and shares Wirkler’s view on how different it is to do everything virtually. 

With TCC returning to campus for the fall semester, plays will no longer be performed virtually. Ward and Wirkler started laughing, then shouted together that they will not miss doing productions this way. 

Wirkler said she misses the sensation of the lights hitting her face and seeing the audience in front of her. Ward focused on the skills she is missing out on from not being in person.

“I’m really excited to start learning the technical aspects of theater because it’s really hard to learn that online,” Ward said. “You can’t really look at the lightboard. You can’t look at the soundboard. You can’t look at the angles the lights are at whenever you’re online.” 

The Festival of New Plays will return next year and feature Carter’s play “Disobedience.”


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