Illinois State University School of Drama and Dance performed the play “Waiting for Lefty” to a live audience September 23-26 at the Center for Performing Arts Theater. This is the first live performance of the school since the start of the pandemic.
The play’s director, Sanhawich Meateanuwat, said the cast continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions, although this can be a challenge at times.
“We always wear masks on stage. We follow the rules to keep everyone safe. This can make it difficult for actors to pronounce and project their lines, ”Meateanuwat said. “They always do a good job of telling the story with their bodies.”
Even with the difficulties, the cast and crew have always enjoyed doing a show again.
“It’s really heartwarming and refreshing to hear the laughter and applause from the audience. I could feel the energy in the theater again, ”Meateanuwat said. “Nothing can compare to the feel and experience of a live performance. We can feed off the energy, participate and interact with other actors and the crowd.
Stefanie Henkel, a junior theater education student and design production major at ISU and stage director for the play, said being back in person was a good thing.
“It’s like coming home after a long absence. The Zoom shows have been a good experience, but there is nothing quite like live theater, ”said Henkel. “Being back in this space has been such a good experience. I’m really grateful that I was able to be a part of the first show in person on stage for so long.
School of Drama and Dance director Ann Haugo said there were positives to taking a break from live performances.
“When it works, the theater can look a bit like magic. It takes a lot of hard work from our outstanding students, staff and faculty to come to this magical moment, but this year it’s even more magical, ”said Haugo. “I think we appreciate the ability to do this job even more. “
The theater department has more live performances to look forward to this year. This was Meateanuwat’s first live production as a director, and Henkel will be working on “Legally Blonde” this spring.