Excuse the cliché, but things just aren’t how they used to be.
A global pandemic threw a wrench in just about everything. Now as the world gets vaccinated, schools and businesses are trying to regain what they’ve lost. In the case of Morgan State University theatre, returning to performing comes with caveats.
This will be the department’s first time performing in person since last year. They did engage in zoom-based performances during the pause, but that was even more different.
“It is always good to be active in your field of study/work,” said Dwight R.B. Cook.
“The virtual process has been challenging but rewarding and has afforded me the opportunity to continue with my concentration of art and study.”
Students and faculty were happy to return to performing after almost a year away. There are many sacrifices that had to be made in order to put a show like this on. Stage crews, actors, directors all working at a distance isn’t exactly what the thespians of Morgan are familiar with, but they put in the work.
“Because of covid-19, there were less stage crew members who could come and help, because of distancing. Also, there were strict rules that we had to abided by including testing weekly, traveling back and forth to Morgan daily,” said Jade Jones, a sophomore and theatre major.
“It was very strenuous and exhausting at times if I’m being honest, but I was just so excited to act that I could overlook the sacrifices.”
During the directing process for “Pipeline,” the university allowed a restricted “hybrid,” said Cook, which allowed the components (actors, technicians, designers) to exercise and execute the necessary duties connected to mounting and producing a theatrical production.
Most of the participants welcomed the return, but performing to an empty theatre posed its own set of obstacles
“I did wish that a live audience was able to watch the performance so I could get the whole ‘theatre’ experience, said Jones, “for many times I felt I had to really reach into my gut to get certain emotions since there wasn’t others who could enjoy the performance and give back energy.”
“Pipeline” was on the theater to-do list before the pandemic struck, so it has been a long time coming and the team was passionate about putting it on.
The play shows us a hardworking teacher in the inner city trying to raise her son and uplift her students. However, the school-to-prison pipeline is staring young underprivileged brown boys and girls in the face.
Dominique Morisseau’s play shines a spotlight on an urgent and needed conversation on what should be two separate topics, school and the prison system. She has authored several other works and most recently co-produced a Showtime series.
“Pipeline” will be streamed free for students and faculty on Friday, April 16 at 10 a.m.
After that there will be four other weekend showings but those will be on sale.
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