May 29, 2020

OEDIPUS Re(du)x- The Senior class of 2020 Take Their Final Performance Online

Graduating Actors Training Program students found some inspiring ways to finish their performance final amidst the societal upturn of Covid-19.  The students produced a live, online Zoom production of an original retelling of the classic play, Oedipus Rex, streamed from their own homes. We asked recent ATP graduates Ireland Nichols and Harrison Lind how this experience unfolded.

Q: What made you decide to use Oedipus?

Harrison Lind: We were interested in the echoes that Oedipus Rex already possesses concerning a seemingly unstoppable virus and negligent leadership. We ultimately decided to rewrite the entire script into our own original adaptation, Oedipus Re(du)x, to more closely reflect the current socio-political climate we find ourselves in. We pulled quotes and comments directly from modern leaders, news anchors, and public forums to ground our work even further.

Q: How did the Zoom coordination work?  

Ireland Nichols: I found the Zoom coordination to be tricky, yet surprisingly satisfactory. There were so many voices to constantly navigate online, even with just 10 people on a zoom conference. The challenges we faced were via virtual and simply unavoidable; I think because of that and everything already going on in our lives, we as a class made it a priority to make sure individuals felt heard during rehearsal, to collaborate our ideas equally and share as openly as one desired, and to also delegate other responsibilities such as logistics or edits to rewrites, without overwhelming ourselves. I found that the collaborative, “unified front” served well in execution. Not only were individuals able to hone in on skills not normally accessible when cast in a show, we were creating something from a limitation we didn’t even know existed 4 months ago. I had classmates flexing mad writing skills, other classmates directing and taking on the roles of the creative team whether that was sound or the framing of each character’s camera. In the end, I’m madly proud of my class and what we accomplished, I’m proud of the world we built around our newly written text, and I’m proud the message we wanted to send went far deeper than the story of a conflicted, old man.”

Q: Any advice for creating your own online content?

Harrison Lind:  Find the holes in the (online) system! Limits can sometimes lead to incredibly creative solutions, but creating online content can sometimes be TOO limiting. Constantly ask yourself how you can bend, stretch, and surpass the limits that platforms like Zoom place on your content creation. 

Q: How does this online process differ for an actor?  

Harrison Lind: Losing scene partners was one of the most difficult things to handle. More than half of an actor’s job is to listen to their scene partners, and when you’re dealing with poor audio or not even being able to see your scene partners at all, so much of that connection is lost. I found myself checking out more easily when I wasn’t physically in the space with people, and it took more effort to create sets of imaginary circumstances for myself.  

Harrison Lind completed an internship with Pioneer Theatre Company, appeared in their productions of Mary Stuart and The Play That Goes Wrong, and had the opportunity to tackle the title role in Tartuffe at the U. He also performed in productions of The Rivals, Big Love, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Love’s Labour’s Lost during his time in the ATP.

Ireland Nichols was last seen as Athena in The Odyssey and appeared in performances of Men on Boats, Loves Labour’s Lost, and The Seagull during her time at the U. She was also in Salt Lake Acting Company’s production of The Wolves and in her internship with Pioneer Theatre Company she understudied the title role in Mary Stuart.

The ATP Seniors send out a special “Thank you” to all the faculty for their support over the years.