EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Community College Theater students couldn’t bring the audience to their plays, so they brought the plays to their audience through recorded performances.
Ted Karber, coordinator of EPCC Theater, says they have been wanting to do a show in the fall semester despite the pandemic, so they started to think about ways to make it happen.
First option was streaming the play over Zoom, but Karber said they decided to incorporate the Mass Communication department and have the whole performance filmed on camera.
“It was kind of a groundbreaking thing for the college because we’ve never done anything like this,” said Karber.
Another challenge was to make sure students stayed safe by wearing masks and socially distance.
“We added the scrubs, we knew the masks were already a part of what was going to happen and so it kind of evolved as time went on,” said Karber, explaining why they ended up dressing the actors in scrubs.
Eugene O’Neill’s “Thirst” is usually performed set on a wrecked ship, however, Karber said they wanted to add the “insanity” factor and so put the actors on a large conference desk.
Omar Moreno, who performs one of the leading roles of “Thirst,” said it was unusual performing without an audience and wearing masks at first, but he soon got used to it.
Moreno said this gave him an opportunity to brush up on new acting skills and learn how to use his voice and facial expressions in a different way.
Karber said it is hard having acting classes and rehearsals over Zoom, so they tried providing students with the best and safest stage experience they needed to be successful in this field of work.
“There’s a great quote by the playwright Lillian Hellman; she said that performance is the only life the play will know,” Karber said.
EPCC plans to continue with filmed performances. The next one in line is a radio drama with a visual component that will be released in late November.