MGA Theatre’s Unique Pandemic Era Production Set for November 18

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 12:00 AM
Categories: Pressroom | Faculty/Staff | Students | School of Arts and Letters

Macon, GA


Ok, so the title of Middle Georgia State University Theatre’s upcoming production needs a bit of explaining.

The “hybrid” play, so called because the production does not take place on a traditional stage but will be streamed online from various locations around the Macon Campus, is titled 11/11/2020 An Online Adventure- now showing 11/18/2020.

Why two dates in the title? Originally, the director and cast intended to stream the production on November 11. “We liked the date because it fell perfectly between Halloween and Thanksgiving,” said student Keylem Collins, who appears in the production.

Unfortunately, in late October, a deer ran through a glass door into the Arts Complex Theater and scampered around before students opened another door so the animal could get away. (Yes, this really happened. To our knowledge, the deer has not been seen on campus since.)

The deer damaged some of the production’s props while running around, causing the delay.

"Fortunately nothing of real value was lost, just the time put into the process,” said Dr. Stephen Wisker, MGA Theatre directory. “Theatre is essentially ephemeral."

Instead of changing the title of the delayed production, Wisker thought that adding “… now showing 11/18/2020” to the original name would be another way to reflect the uncertainty of any plans made in the time of COVID.

11/11/2020 An Online Adventure- now showing 11/18/2020 is not the University’s first production to adapt to COVID-related obstacles that limit live theatre. 

Earlier this month, MGA Theatre Cochran presented a pandemic-influenced play titled The Distance Between Us. Dr. John Iverson, adjunct theatre instructor, developed the script using dialogue from interviews he conducted with MGA students who performed in the play.

An example of what is known as “verbatim theatre,” The Distance Between Us directly addressed pandemic-related and other issues facing students, therefore the script did not have to explain why the actors were wearing masks and social distancing on the Russell Hall auditorium stage on the Cochran Campus. Audience size was limited.

Unlike the Cochran Campus production, 11/11/2020 An Online Adventure- now showing 11/18/2020 is entirely virtual.

Wisker labels the production "hybrid" because rather than performing on the stage to people in an auditorium, “This play is to stream online to an audience anywhere from the theatre and from residence hall rooms and elsewhere around the Macon Campus - and from students living off campus as well,” he said.

He said the show comprises a selection of scenes written and performed by students, sometimes with the socially distanced performers speaking to each other in the same room and sometimes acting together over videoconferencing. 

“Some of the material is serious while some is far from it,” Wisker said. “"Where else can you get poetry and parrots in one place without leaving your couch? Actually, don't answer that! But we do invite folks to share a laugh and possibly a tear as we mingle fairy tales and reality.”

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, streamed at The QR code on the flyer that accompanies this article will take viewers straight to the webpage.  The production’s running time is 30 to 40 minutes.