The show must go on, even during a global pandemic

Gannon’s Schuster Theatre safely continues productions amid COVID-19


Ali Smith, staff writer

Amidst the craziness of the coronavirus pandemic, we as college students have been left with a lot of unanswered questions: how long will we be on campus?
Will we go to school completely online next semester?
When will this be over?
Amongst my many questions, I have asked myself, “What will happen to the Schuster Theatre?”
The Schuster Theatre is one of the most public buildings on campus, and it thrives on an audience, which is out of the question during the global pandemic.
Alaina Manchester, an assistant professor in the theatre program, weighed in on what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the theatre.
“This has forced us to question the very nature of theatre,” she said. “There has been theater for as long as there has been storytelling. Film forced theater to redefine itself. Now, with digital theater in full swing, what is theater? Does it have to be live? Can it have recorded bits? Does it have to take place in the same room as the audience? And on and on.
“But theater will survive. It has always survived because we need to tell stories as a way to connect. As long as that happens, it will survive.”
Her input on the theater and its current condition gives all theater lovers a glimmer of hope that this art form cannot be destroyed by even a global lockdown.
Manchester acknowledged as much, noting that despite the pandemic and the challenges it is presenting, the Schuster Theater is conducting two major projects at the moment.
The first project is a play by Jordan Harrison called “The Grown-up.”
This project is about fantasy and science fiction elements such as time travel and pirates, and according to Manchester, the message the play carries is about memory, family, stories and aging.
The Schuster Theatre is presenting this play live via Zoom at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 15-24, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.
Viewer discretion is advised due to adult language, and tickets will be sold in the upcoming weeks on the Schuster Theatre website.
Their second project is a piece they are currently calling “Love Notes.”
The composition is in the works, and the writers are exploring verbatim theater by drawing upon their personal experiences.
The major themes include love for the theater and the frustrating stifled feeling they are experiencing in their art form right now.
In the bigger picture, however, this is about identity.
This will be a filmed performance, and the theater community promises an exciting presentation. Mark your calendars for 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. as they debut their project.