by Anna Fofana
Ciara Shack, 19, proudly reps her Epic Theatre shirt during her Epic Theatre presentation (Photo by Anna Fofana)
Before the pandemic, there was no telling how crazy things were about to get, nor how quickly. Many Purchase actors and actresses were already involving themselves in productions or preparing for any future projects.
Actor and playwright, Andrew Miranda, felt like he was growing as an artist due to the various projects that he was involved in. He was working on a senior project as well as co-writing a web series that was making its way to the rehearsal stage.
For Miranda that meant that he was constantly working on about 2-3 different things every week. However, he felt that because he was still a student, there was a lot more that he could work on as well.
Similarly, Peter Moriarty, also had a show lined up; “A Creative Process” as well as various other productions lined up before they got cancelled. He felt thrilled to be able to get back on stage and felt pretty confident in his acting skills so having the shows he was involved in to be cancelled was disappointing to say the least.
Skylar Hertz, chimed saying that she was submitting herself to online auditions and opportunities so she can better herself as an actress but nonetheless she was pretty confident with her acting skills as well.
During the height of the pandemic, sophomore Olivia Perrone was the first one to say that she had dealt with her very own hardships over the past few months. Perrone felt like she “lost a bit of her spark at the beginning” and she essentially was put on pause for a three month period. For her, “this was unheard of” because she has been constantly working on her acting and writing skills, ever since she was 8.
However, during the pandemic lockdown, she had a chance to really work on her own mental health, which made her stronger because she truly believes that “art comes from the soul.”
Along with the coronavirus pandemic, America was also dealing with a second pandemic of police brutality and racism towards Black people. Because of this, many people had to sit back and look at themselves and the privileges they hold.
Moriarty definitely felt like a valuable lesson he learned was about the amount of privilege he has, economically and racially, which made him more understanding and empathic towards the minority groups in both of these pandemics.
Sophomore Tahlia Holmgren added that they “Felt like people were becoming more aware of what they put out as well.”
Actress and playwright, Eryn Harris, was also involved in a play before the pandemic called “What to Send Up, When it Comes Down” which discusses issues within the black community.
As a Black young woman herself, she constantly wrote work discussing black issues and began writing even more since the Black Lives Matter movement.
At first she thought that her writing “was just ranting” before realizing it can be a “work of art.” Harris stated that she had time to reflect which really helped with her writing and also where she stands as an artist now and how that will play into the future.
So how do things play into effect in the theatre community now that school is back in session? The answer is unknown. Peter Sprague, a production manager and faculty at Purchase, said it best, “We don’t yet know, but we are determined to find out, to mine this vein, too, because it’s what we do: encounter the world as we find it, not as we desire it, and see what we can make of it. Well, it’s an improvisation, it’s live, and it’s real time. Wash your hands. Wear your mask.”