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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Three campus, community play projects presented

Coronavirus

Performed remotely

Screen showing Lawrence University offering of “The National Youth Administration: A Radio Drama.” (Lawrence University)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The coronavirus COVID-19 shot down traditional presentations of theater pieces on three area campuses, but action happened virtually anyway.

Performances were presented for a whole lot of reasons, but they all boiled down to this: They happened.

+ In Marinette, while traditional performances of the Theatre on the Bay production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” were canceled, director and producer Rebecca Stone Thornberry and others organized a virtual performance.

Theatre on the Bay presents performances involving campus resources of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marinette Campus and the community.

Six performances were scheduled starting April 17 in Herbert L. Williams Theatre on campus.

The virtual production of the Oscar Wilde classic includes music and graphics much like those that open and close movies, followed by actors performing in separate locations, often on multiple screens.

Here is the two hour, nine minute screening: https://cahsseffect.org/cahss-virtual/the-336-production-practicum-in-performance/.

The performers at times looked in the direction of the characters they were speaking to in the arrangement of the screens. Voicings were in British accents.

The cast in order of appearance, with community players except where noted: Gary Pansch as Lane, Noah Steffen as Algernon Moncrieff, Kenan Pulver Jr. (student) as John Worthing, Lisa Atkinson-LeBoeuf as Lady Bracknell, Brittany Welch as Gwendolen Fairfax, Hannah Fields as Cicely Cardew, Cassidy MacArthur (student) as Laetitia Prism, Glenn Sellen as Dr. Clasuble and John Thornberry as Merriman.

+ In Appleton, while traditional performances of the Lawrence University Theatre Arts production of “The Domino Effect” were canceled, director Kathy Privatt and others organized a virtual performance of a radio play with students.

The production of the “The National Youth Administration: A Radio Drama,” by Herb Meadow, was performed May 15. The unedited version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv6kh41_XXY&feature=youtu.be. An edited/produced version will be available on the Department of Theatre Arts Productions web page under the View Streaming Video link. Many other Lawrence productions also are available at that link.

“The National Youth Administration: A Radio Drama” was written in 1937. Vignettes depict the effects of the Great Depression on young people.

In a news release, Kathy Privatt said “The Domino Effect” was not an option as a presentation from remote locations because of movement among the characters. Originally scheduled May 14-16, “The Domino Effect” may be presented as a traditional production next school year, she said.

Radio drama became an option, and Kathy Privatt was aware of a set of plays that came out of Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Theatre Project. 

The era of the play has parallels with the COVID-19 global pandemic and its economic fallout.

“When I found that script, it just felt right,” she said. 

Among students in the 50-minute production are Flora Aubin as Joey and NYA Representative, Maren Dahl as Allie, Emily Austin, as Traveler, Chris Follina as President Roosevelt, Nora Robinson as Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethue, Owen Almy as Richard R. Brown, Andrea Lara as Dr. Mary H.S. Hayes, Carly Bever as Restaurant Patron, Lexi Praxl as Waiter, Rachel Michtom as Hotel/Restaurant Manager and Ben Johnson as Aubrey Williams. Students also appear as news announcers and narrators.

Including music, the presentation includes historical background of the theater project.

+ In Green Bay, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay production of “A Doll’s House, Part 2” was presented May 7 live online.

Here is my report: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/coronavirus/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-coronavirus-play-put-on-in-green-bay-has-some-virtual-virtues/.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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