Georgia Southern Department of Communication Arts to host virtual performance with multiple mediums
Georgia Southern University theater students will explore the concept of touch and how physical interaction changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic through a multimedia performance streamed live via Zoom from Nov. 11 through 15.
“Touch,” which is directed by Professor of Theatre Lisa Abbott, was created entirely by the cast and production team of students and faculty and will include a collection of sketches, dances and songs that are a reflection of the cast’s first-hand experience as they have navigated life in the world of COVID-19. The performance will look at what touch means in a world devoid of it.
The show will focus on three aspects of touch: good, bad and healing, which will be showcased through topics such as ridiculous quarantine hobbies, playing Dungeons and Dragons on Zoom, vlogging and Zoom speed dating. The show will also blend genres with both serious and humorous sketches.
“I was watching a news report on patients in the hospital who could not have family members visit and were literally not being touched other than through the gloves and plastic of PPE,” Abbott said. “I started thinking about the way this fundamental thing, touch, has been taken away. So we decided on that as the focal point and prompt for the show.”
This show will feature different short pieces of live and recorded content. While each performance contains elements that are made up of different mediums, the subject matter is shared.
“We like to say that we threw a bunch of things at the wall and looked at what stuck,” Abbott said. “In the early phase, we were doing various exercises to start playing with ideas, and we discovered that we had some really strong dancers, strong movers and some of the cast were inspired to write songs. The different style of pieces grew completely out of the talents of the cast and where they wanted to take the piece.”
COVID-19 has affected the preparation for “Touch,” as well as Abbott’s classes, in a major way. She said virtual learning and rehearsing adds a level of difficulty and exhaustion to the normal routine.
“Students are having to do their work without an audience and without the normal means of storytelling,” Abbott said. “Being in the room together brings an energy to the work that Zoom just zaps from you. We made the choice to set up all the students in individualized Zoom rooms throughout the Center for Art and Theatre to allow us more control over connectivity, and our designers can adjust sound light and camera angles as we work.”
Although it has been harder to rehearse and perform since the pandemic, Abbott said it has brought out the resilience of her students.
“I think this performance will show the incredible creative talent of our students, as well as offer insights into the things they think are important about our world right now,” she said. “Combining Zoom technology with prerecorded sections shows the adaptability of the entire program and all our students, designers and technicians as well as actors.”
For more information on “Touch” and to access the virtual performance, visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/Theatre.