Devising for the Future, a collaborative piece created by its student cast, is set to open on Feb. 17, but there have been setbacks with the actors first getting together last week over Zoom.
Dina Perez, a senior studying musical theatre with a music minor, is an assistant stage manager on this production and said she thinks that they are all in a good place despite the setbacks COVID-19 has presented.
“COVID has brought some setbacks in our process,” Perez said. “It really sucks to have to do a devised show online for the first week, considering it is very ensemble-based and even movement-based. This week, we started a hybrid rehearsal of some people in the space and some people online, and I think that’s really helped the ensemble feel more connected.”
This production was fully online for the first week of practice, having to rely on computer screens to communicate with each other.
Sa’daiveon Blanton-Newell, a sophomore majoring in theatre acting and political science, is one of the actors involved in this production.
“Last week was by far the most interesting first week of rehearsal that I’ve ever had in my 12 years of doing theatre,” Blanton-Newell said. “We as a cast felt a bit stuck in the process as devised theatre is such a unique process compared to any other type of theatre.”
Blanton-Newell said that “tensions were high” due to the limited time to create a show.
“We still to this day don’t have a script and aren’t very sure what our show will look like or be about,” Blanton-Newell said. “I am personally nervous looking towards opening because I feel that we are so behind in the process. In my opinion, having rehearsal over Zoom has hindered us quite a bit in this process.”
“For a show of this nature, it is vital that we have a comfortable and dynamic culture amongst the cast,” Blanton-Newell said. “It’s quite hard to do virtually, but I believe we’ve done a great job.”
While Newell wasn’t the biggest fan of Zoom, he still felt that the cast and crew did everything to the best of their abilities, with Perez echoing those same praises.
“I think we are at a really good place, all things considered,” Perez said. “We have a really good cast who have been working very hard to stay on task, so we hit all our deadlines but don’t sacrifice their artistry by doing so. We of course do feel a little pressure since our other mainstage shows usually have longer rehearsal processes, but I’m confident this will be something great by opening night.”
This show will touch on all types of love and how it affects every one of us. The production is meant to spark endless conversation around the topic, and the cast hopes that everyone takes something away from it.
“The audience can expect a piece that all the cast members contributed to and care about. These stories all really affect them personally, and I think they’re excited to share their stories with others,” Perez said.
Devising for the Future will be held virtually with the whole show being pre-recorded for audiences to enjoy but will still be created with the same amount of love. It will soon be available to watch online with more information coming throughout the production process.