Updated: Nov 12, 2020
The stage and screen lifestyle many dream of has looked bleak in these past few months, but Rhode Island College keeps the dream attainable, workable and motivational. The talent at RIC is remarkable and vast. RIC implores students to only work towards their goals. But how can that happen with the current safety precautions set in place.
This fall the theater department will still put on their shows. The presentations of the semester are being recorded with the help of students majoring and minoring in RIC's film studies. Three productions with the titles, Everyman, I and You, and The Laramie Project will be streamed in the later part of December for the entire student body and faculty to see. The Anchor’s own Madison Perez has taken the position of Assistant Camera Operator throughout the duration of these recording processes, and sheds light on what is going on. “Students are still being given hands on experience in a time that is defining our new normal. Some students even appreciate this new atmosphere a little more.”
Wearing a mask and maintaining a six feet distance by nature is hard to do for acting. However, RIC took initiative to solve or maneuver around all problems. Following the safety guidelines set in place by the Center for Disease Control and RIC since the get go, it was soon realized the disposable blue masks were best for voice projection. Next, the department built a twelve foot by nine foot stage with a green screen in order to maintain safe distances while acting. Perez, who brings help where needed as well as records, calls the atmosphere fun and claims everyone has brought more to the table this semester. Actors are learning about cinematography, cinematographers are learning how to be a part of a stage crew, and some actors have taken part in the scene writing process.
Perry Barkett gave immense inspiration when detailing his opinions on how the theater department is running this semester. As a double major in Computer Science and Musical Theater, with a minor in Dance, Barkett has much talent and skill. Although he was faced with the thought, “professionals aren’t receiving work, so should I continue with this path?”, Barkett has nothing but praise for his theater family. He explains how the unique experience of the pandemic allows students to venture in front of a camera, when they normally wouldn’t. He then went on to describe how the link of fear, with the stigma of being in front of the camera, is smashed to pieces by the day. The assertiveness of each actor is present, but the pressure has been lowered with the recording process. On the slight chance a mistake is made, it can simply be edited out. Actors are also presented a chance to be less extravagant with their emotions.
All students within the drama, film, music, and dance departments have a mixture of classes online and in person. This allows for minimal in person interaction. Minimal interaction is the biggest change the departments have seen, as all students used to know one another, and now many do not know each other. Barkett went on to mention that this semester has brought in a significant number of freshmen who have yet to meet the older students. He claims the atmosphere could be considered less scary if more students could interact.
Perez and Barkett coincide with admiration for combining the film and drama departments. Barkett states, “At first it felt odd, and it was weird what we we’re doing, but we’re doing it again. We’re making stories.” This is nothing like acting students at RIC have done before, however, pandemic life outside of school helped the adjustment of acting behind the mask. The only downfall drama, music, and dance students have mentioned is the lack of live reactions. Therefore, stay up to date with the school website for further streaming information, so together we may share our reactions with the actors who appreciate them.