Outdoor productions keep live theatre alive

Outdoor productions keep live theatre alive

Posted on Friday, September 04, 2020

Students stand socially distanced while practicing for the fall Theatre performance

While colleges around the country were canceling their 2020-21 theater seasons, Kim Barber Knoll refused to surrender to the pandemic.

“I knew we could come up with something we could do safely and responsibly,” said Knoll, Director of Theatre Arts and Co-Director of Musical Theater.

So she put her mind to work. Where could they realize live productions and how could they keep actors safe—during a pandemic? The answers, “outdoors … and in masks,” led her to the perfect solution: Greek Theatre.

She took two Greek classics – “Antigone” and “Medea” – and adapted them for a 30-minute performance each.

And that was only the beginning of the adaptations required to assure LaGrange students a live theatre experience this fall.

Auditions had to be scheduled farther apart with careful attention to logistics. Then, she had to find convenient outdoor locations that would lend themselves to the stories being told.

“I found the two sites walking early mornings around campus,” she said. “’Medea’ is set under the pecan trees at Sunny Gables Alumni House, and ‘Antigone’ takes place in a creek bed along the entrance to Hills and Dales Estate, next to campus.

“Nature is our scenery.”

Actor underneath a large tree at Sunny Gables and reading from a scriptRehearsing outdoors, while safe and invigorating, brings its own set of challenges.

“We gather every morning at sunrise to rehearse while it is cooler,” she said. “We are masked, using a lot of bug spray and taking breathing breaks when we need to.”

By design, the style of the plays allows for social distancing of the actors. Plans are still in the works for having an appropriately distanced audience for the performances, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 25 through 27.

Meanwhile, back in Price Theater, costume work is underway. Students are building full Greek face masks with fabric covering the mouths.

Taking the lemons of life, they keep on making lemonade.

“I am so proud of these students and the way they have risen to the challenges of working outdoors—with the masks and the heat and the bugs. They are all on time at 7 a.m., energized and ready to work.

“With so many programs offering online-only options right now, our students realize and appreciate how fortunate they are to be performing, working and creating live theatre at this time.”


Campus notes

Professor of Religion Dr. John Cook had his article "Chrestiani, Christiani, Χριστιανοί [Christianoi]: a Second Century Anachronism?" published in Vigiliae Christianae.

Undergraduate political science majors Nia Johnson and Andrew Valbuena joined Professor of Political Science John A. Tures in having their research published in PennLive's "Young Voters Think The Right Running Mate Can Help Win The Presidency.”

Student Engagement continues a range of activities to help launch the fall semester:

Laser Tag - Sunday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. on the Residential Quad
Yoga Session - Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.
Virtual Clubs & Organizations Fair - Friday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m. to noon
Grocery Bingo - Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 .m.
Bob Ross Paint Night – Saturday, Sept. 26, at 2 p.m.


Sports nursing mask graphic from Panthers website

Former student-athletes who are making a difference in the health-care profession during the COVID-19 pandemic are spotlighted in the “From the Front Lines” series on the Panther website and social media. Recently featured was former women’ tennis player Ali Herring ’18, who is working as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

The USA South athletic conference has postponed men’s and women’s basketball until early 2021. The season will begin mid-January according to the conference release. USA South had previously postponed all fall sports.


Video of the week

Everyone on campus is reminded to mask up and follow the signs to #ProtectaPanther.


In the headlines

City discusses long-term goal of African American Heritage Center – LaGrange Daily News, Sept. 3, 2020


Category: Arts and Culture, Events, Academics

Keywords: Theatre Arts drama Greek tragedy COVID

Press Contact

Debby Baker

Last updated: 09/04/2020