Even in a pandemic, the show must go on

By Felipe Yamashiro Souza

The Missouri Valley College Theater Department will perform “A Pandemic Night’s Dream” at 7:30 p.m. nightly from March 18 to 20 in the Eckilson-Mabee Theatre.

Telling the story of a multimedia comedy focusing on a troupe of actors trying to figure out how to produce a live performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe” in the midst of a pandemic, the production will be performed with a limited amount of seats due Covid-19 pandemic, said director Harold Hynick.

“We can get about 30 people here live, which is nice to have that energy of having people to play off of it,” Hynick said.

In addition to in-person seating, there is another option to watch the play. Audiences can also access MVC’s website for a streaming version on Thursday. The Friday and Saturday performances will be streamed live on the Theatre Department’s Facebook page.

The cast had to adapt their rehearsals due the pandemic, which for them was a challenge.  

“To do rehearsals, we were all, of course, wearing masks, and the performance will be wearing masks which is just strange, just the eyes, it limits just so much expression,” actor Troy Hunt said.

Actress Kaylee Hering found that lack of expression particularly challenging to overcome.

“For me personally, whenever I talk to people, I watch their mouth move, and having that “block” is kind of hard to get through,” actress Kaylee Hering said. “Not being able to smile, at the audience and really have as much engagement because they can’t really see all of mine facial features, really making sure that instead of smiling at them I have to make my body language to feel relaxed for them to know I’m in a good mood, If I’m sad I have to over dramatic react with my arms so they know I’m upset.”

The performance’s total run time may vary, Hynick said, adding that there is some additional content audiences wouldn’t normally see in a traditional performance.

“If you go for the 7:30 starting point, right now it’s running at 90 minutes, so one hour and a half,” Hynick said. “There’s added content when we open the house, the video going with some of the outtakes, and then after the show, just like at the end of a Marvel thing, there is some more.”

Hynick also explained that during the first two nights of performances the language used in the show will be more family friendly, giving the Saturday night show freedom for the actors to have more expression in their lines which wouldn’t be suitable for all ages.

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