By Annabelle Norton, COM 250 Reporter
Edited by Phillip Walker, COM 303 Editor
MOUNT BERRY, Ga.- The Berry College Theater Company streamed their first filmed production, Molière’s Tartuffe, to comply with COVID-19 adjustments over Mountain Day Weekend.
This production, originally slated for the spring of 2020, included many new adjustments to ensure the safety of the actors and audience. The actors wore masks, the blocking was reworked to maintain social distancing, and regular sanitation methods were enforced. The cast and crew remained healthy throughout the production process.
The new COVID-19 guidelines introduced challenges to the creative team. The wearing of masks allowed the audience to only see the cast’s eyes, making it difficult for the actors to emote with the same intensity and enunciate the verse of the script.
Despite these difficulties, the actors learned from the experience and formed close relationships. Actor Sydney Muñoz, who plays Mariane, described the uniqueness of the experience:
“It was this weird cross between theater and film. It was interesting, and a fun experience to be a part of. But, it was very different from anything I think any of us had ever done before.”
The production was made possible by the theater faculty, who accelerated the production process in case of a lockdown. The show was filmed in order to better reach the community, rather than having a limited audience or a livestream. The 5-7 week rehearsal period was reduced to three weeks. Many new crew members were added to the team, including the film crew and dressers.
The show was filmed in increments, and was only seen once all the way through before it was edited and streamed. Productions normally run the show several times in technical and dress rehearsals, so costume director Alice Bristow was excited to finally see the production in full:
“Each night we did a different act, so we didn’t see the whole thing at once except for the one dress rehearsal. So, I’m anxious to see it streamed and see how all of that goes together.”
The filming of a show had never been done before at BCTC. All of the filming and editing was completely done by students. Viking Fusion, with the help of advisor Steven Hames, assisted by lending cameras and training students on the equipment. The show was shot on three cameras to capture close ups as well as shots of the set.
The decision to continue the spring production of Tartuffe into the fall was made with the students in mind. Dr. Anna Filippo wanted to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and educational experience for the team despite the COVID-19 related challenges:
“We decided, ‘You know what, we want to do Tartuffe. We started it, we want to end it. We want to do it, complete it.’” Digital tickets for Tartuffe were available for purchase on the BCTC’s web page at Berry.edu. The show streamed via ShowTix4U for 48 hours over Mountain Day Weekend.