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The Antelope

The show must go on for UNK Theatre

Theatre students performed “Marat/Sade” in March before theatre was postponed indefinitely. 

As social distancing takes its toll on schools across the country, theatre is taking a hard hit. The UNK Theatre Department has had to think outside the box to continue the students’ education.

Social distancing is vital to keeping the stage lights on.

“We don’t want large groups,” said Darin Himmerich, an associate professor in the UNK Theatre Department. “We don’t want extended rehearsals.”

Instead, students are being encouraged to continue their studies independently. Practicums, a project typically involving students working on productions for a grade, have changed to allow students to choose their own assignments.

Students can choose from a myriad of ideas in order to find something they’re interested in pursuing. Some have already decided to design sets, write a script or take part in this semester’s Student Dance Workshop.

“You want to do something that you’ve always wanted to do because you connect with it,” said Himmerich.

Will Frederick, a senior theatre major, has chosen to write his own one act play.

“It’s going to be titled “You Can’t have Coffee Dates in the Apocalypse,” Frederick said. “It’s about two people who swipe right on each other before the apocalypse and meet after. It’s got a bit of darkness to it. I’m really excited to be able to do it.”

Even though students are excited to have more freedom in their semester, many are still disappointed that mainstage productions are canceled.

“I like the independence of [the practicum] because it gives me time to do it on my own,” Frederick said. “But I don’t really care for it at the same time because I miss being able to work with people and collaborate with others.”

The department plans to present these projects to publicize what theatre students are capable of doing during a time of social distancing. The plan is to upload presentations to the department’s YouTube or webpage.

Professors are excited to see the results of this new system.

“[Students] can now say I want do this. I’ve always wanted to do this,” said Himmerich. “I’m really looking forward to seeing these projects. They can really highlight themselves doing what they do best.”

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