On Nov. 6 and 7 at 7:30pm, student performers of the Guilford College Theatre Studies Department were spread out across campus, simultaneously performing six individual 10 minute plays. Students and parents gathered at Rachel’s Rose Cottage at 7:15 to drink hot chocolate and to divide into pods to view the performances. The plays performed were “Falling Apart,” “Secrets,” “Beyond Therapy,” “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” “Kissing Cousins” and “Here Comes the Drone.”
Each play consisted of pods with six audience members and an usher to guide them to each performance. The gazebo, the Orangerie, the Dana Auditorium stairs, the Milner parlor and Sternberger Auditorium were the locations of the COVID-19 friendly performances.
When asked if the event was an entertaining experience with the COVID-19 restrictions, sophomore student and attendee Liv Kinsella responded, “Yes… and I thought they did a good job implementing masks and making the plays interesting.”
As COVID-19 restrictions disrupted the normalcy of theatre performances, some student actors of the Pod Plays commented on their experience with adjusting to several different performance locations.
“It has been really hard… theatres are designed as blank canvases and it’s difficult to figure out what to do to get the scene done,” responded junior Maira Vandiver.
“It was a little hard at the beginning… and the masks were an issue,” added sophomore Matthew Norton. “But other than that, it was easy to deal with. I really wish we could do it another weekend and I know a lot of people wanted to come… getting the chance to perform is always fun.”
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Pod Plays were limited to two performances. Students shared their excitement about the opening and the final night of the show.
“I’d say one really cool thing is that it has been a lot less stressful than a big department show. It almost gives you the ability to play more,” said Vandiver. “It is a little sad, though, that we only get two nights.”
“It’s definitely different. It’s been a break (from) class,” added sophomore Emily Roberts.
Audience members and crew shared some of their favorite moments from the show.
“I really liked ‘Here Comes the Drone,’” said senior and usher for the show, Emma Hines. “I just find it appealing and I love it.”
Hines also shared how much she enjoyed being an usher for the performances: “It’s great that I get to see the shows multiple times and everybody’s reactions to it.”
The scenes performed each had their own individual humor, subtext, connections and emotional depth, ranging from a date turned awkward to a bride traumatized on her wedding day. Each had their own unique storyline, but some scenes were connected to others.
With a successful two-day run, the Theatre Studies Department has found ways to creatively, innovatively and safely work around the restrictions on capacity limits. Students shared their comments on future performances within the department.
Norton responded with hopes for the Theatre Studies Department’s future productions: “We will definitely try to crank out as many performances as we can.”
“We have a staged reading lined up and it’s more like a dramatic reading,” Vandiver added. “Next semester we are doing a lot more extensive things.”
Theatre students provided their thoughts on how students can contribute to the Theatre Studies Department.
“Definitely take classes and show that Guilford theatre is important,” said Roberts. “Show professors some love. Guilford is going through a hard time and the arts are an important factor in education.”
“Just make sure to look around campus for ongoing things like these pod plays and the drag show we did earlier in the semester,” Norton added.
“One really great way is if you want credit, there are a variety of jobs in theatre,” said Vandiver. “It’s a fun way to get involved. Keep your eyes open for posters on campus.”