By Cameron Fronk
Live theater has taken a real hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, but actors at the University of Mississippi are still taking the stage.
Despite the obstacles, the Ole Miss theatre department is determined to meet its commitment to students. According to technical director Felipe Macias, that is why this spring’s productions, like “Urinetown: The Musical”, will now be accessible via online videos.
“Urinetown, we are shooting it very much like a film,” Macias said. “We are basically filming this production to air it on the internet. Normally, we would produce live, but with social distancing, we can’t bring people in here, and we can’t bring people close together on stage.”
Student actor Gregor Patti says rehearsals have been a bit lonely due to the university’s COVID-19 policies, and he misses collaborating with his fellow student actors on stage.
“We have done a lot of rehearsals over Zoom,” Patti said. “For the musical, the way rehearsals ran is that we would be socially distanced here in Fulton Chapel, and we would wear masks. Usually, we’d be double-masked while we are singing, and we would wear face shields while we are singing.”
Patti said that while the virtual performance may not be the same, he appreciates that the show will indeed go on.
“It’s obviously not ideal for anybody, but I’m thankful for the department for trying to provide meaningful opportunities because it’s not easy to come up with something on the fly.”
Macias said the focus of the department was on finding a way to get students on stage.
“So, we are having to be very creative in terms of how we shoot this and how keep actors safe and how we keep ourselves safe.”
“Urinetown: The Musical” will air online April 9-11.