EAST LANSING (WLSN) – Actors are finally returning to the stage for Michigan State University’s Department of Theater productions after pandemic restrictions made it impossible to perform.
“We’ve told ourselves we would do it no matter if we had an audience or not, just for the student experience,” said Rob Roznowski, director of acting and directing at MUS’s department of theater.
The spotlights are turning back on in the Wharton Center Friday night after the curtains fell on the MSU theater department back in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Roznowski says that teaching online wasn’t easy.
“Doing an acting class, directing class, musical theater class online, all of those things were really, really difficult,” he said. “Trying to get that intimacy on zoom, trying to work on listening and responding, all of those sorts of things on video platform was really difficult,” Roznowski said.
Students, like Andie Nash, shared that that frustration.
“There’s a lot of times my parents would ask “are you going crazy?” Because I was talking to a computer screen,” said the senior student.
After 19 months of no productions, Roznowski said the department was ready to get back to it but is taking precautions.
“Actors are fully masked the entire time. The audience will be fully masked the entire time as well,” he said.
Kasee Arnett is the graduate student and is the scenic design director for the show. She said she was also ready to get back to work.
“I was excited but I also very curious about how we would go about this, with all the protocols and such. I have full trust in the faculty and staff here. So, I knew they were going to make the best decision possible for the staff and students,” Arnett said.
Nash said she’s looking forward to working on her art again.
“I feel like it is a part of me. and I think that there’s something important in telling other people’s stories. And to be able to do it again, it feels surreal and I’m so grateful,” she said.
Opening night for the show “A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage” is October 15th. The show will have 10 performances through the 24th of October.