OSWEGO, N.Y.– The show must go on, as students from SUNY Oswego’s Blackfriars production progresses into a new way of entertaining their audiences. Ever since the pandemic shut down in-person productions this allowed many of their students within the theater department to use creative freedom to find alternative ways to make their productions virtual.
With several obstacles making their way into rehearsals due to the pandemic, students were able to apply all guidelines within their classrooms. Several COVID protocols set in place included wearing masks when meeting for their in-person rehearsals unless you are acting alone in the room, all props must be sanitized, all costumes are designated specifically for each actor to avoid cross-contamination, and communications throughout the day are through interruptible foldbacks and Zoom.
“Before the week of our show, we were rehearsing in our bedrooms, which made it weird and complicated. Ever since restrictions loosened up a bit we were allowed to work in Tyler,” Director and theatre major Giovanni Ayala-Martinez said. “Getting the actors and crew in the space has helped so much since then.”
This new stage of ‘Virtual Theater’ strays away from the standard experience of in-person performances to more experimental and creative ways of their production. With green screens, animations, sound effects, and high-quality pre-recordings this reconstructs the future of art onto virtual platforms such as Zoom. Utilizing most of Tyler Hall’s lounges and spaces the classrooms have transformed into new theater arrangements, as each room is designated for props, costumes, and different setups arranged for each actor.
“When you end up in this realm of the online theater during this time, you become more than just a director. You are also directing for cinema and TV, as you work with camera angles, green screens, and a different type of acting for the actors,” Martinez said. “Sometimes it’s a hit or a miss because they are so used to theatrical acting, so it has been a setback but we have such a developed show it’s so unique that it has not been done before in the collegiate theater setting of the SUNY system.”
The show involves many discussions upon topics such as death, suicide, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, mental health, extreme examples of homophobia, and the LGBTQIA+ identities. The show is rated for mature audiences only and viewer discretion is advised for the harsh language and explicit content presented.
“Yes this may be a high-school show, but a lot of people struggle with identity,” said Martinez. “In a time during the pandemic, we have become so isolated and have seen all the bad parts of the world, we also have that time to introspect and ask ourselves who am I? Do I love myself? I want to ask that to the audience and I want them to understand who they are.”
“Dog Sees God: The Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” is available for screening on Zoom for free from March 18th to March 21st. Tickets are required and can be purchased in advance through SUNY Oswego’s Box Office website at tickets.oswego.edu.