Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  November 2020  >  November 23, 2020  >  The show must go on for Creighton University’s Fine & Performing Arts Department
The show must go on for Creighton University’s Fine & Performing Arts Department

Love's Labour Lost ScreenshotThe show must go on for students in Creighton University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, which has had to adapt its fall production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost to a virtual format to adhere to the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines, as well as the University’s Community Standards. The shift to digital allows for a free public viewing of the production, which can be accessed starting Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27 at 5:15 p.m. through Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. at https://youtu.be/9VUs5uh1M-4.

Utilizing Creighton’s Lied Education Center for the Arts would make it difficult for guests and the production crew to safely socially distance themselves, and an outdoor performance would make it challenging for guests to hear actors, who would have had to wear masks. Ultimately, the best decision for the department was to perform Love’s Labour’s Lost via Zoom.

“We had to get accustomed to adaptability and more creative thinking,” Addie Barnhart, director and assistant professor of Theatre said. “I think artists are often on the front lines of making changes because we are often underfunded and have limited time to figure things out. Given the fact that we have two to three productions every semester and a pretty small team, we have to do a lot of creative thinking to make sure that everybody is not overworked.”

Separating performers will allow them to remain maskless for their digital performance. They will be established in individual spaces with their Zoom setup and cell phone camera, which Barnhart says gives them more creative freedom, all while highlighting the primary goal of determining how to use Shakespeare in storytelling and give students the skillset to activate and understand his text. While students are limited to Zoom, that does not mean their performance will be any less robust. They are still incorporating choreography, lip-syncing, puppetry and much more into the production.

“There is a lot I probably would not have thought of if we had done this production traditionally,” Barnhart said. “Zoom has allowed the cast to play with different mediums that are not traditionally seen in Love’s Labour’s Lost performances. It’s not the production I had in mind, but I’m quickly loving where it’s going, and the students are having a great time with it, which is my number-one priority.”

Barnhart says her directing approach to the play required heightened focus, as she had to completely rethink how the production would be presented to the audience. She ultimately began to see herself as a television director looking at a multicamera view of students on Zoom. Therefore, every entrance and exit of a scene needed to be done to Barnhart’s specifications, as the Zoom platform does not allow users to reconfigure the order of their screens. This is accomplished by students turning on their cameras in a specific order, per Barnhart’s queue.

For students, the productions have been a learning curve.

“I think it was frustrating at first because we are so used to having a community, and energy exchange on camera is not the same as what you receive in person,” Barnhart said. “They have been so adaptable and willing to experiment and take risks. I think the fact that we can produce something during this pandemic and put their energy and focus into something they intend to do for their career is something that makes a big difference to them, especially because our Spring production was shut down a week before it was supposed to open, with no way to bring it back. The opportunity to see something through has been really positive for everybody.”

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