From Stage to Screens – Theatre Fairfield Transports Shakespeare into Virtual Era

From Stage to Screens – Theatre Fairfield Transports Shakespeare into Virtual Era

Students practice stage combat during rehearsals.

Megan Beauregard ’21 and Kiersten Bjork ’21 practice stage combat during rehearsals for Theatre Fairfield’s production of Titus Andronicus

Fairfield University’s resident production company will adapt its spring production of Titus Andronicus into a unique virtual theater experience.

I'm beyond proud of the work we've put into [this project] and think it's incredibly fortunate to have so many skilled and passionate members of the Theatre Fairfield community willing to take the steps to transform Titus into an online experience.

— Park Lytle '21

Like most theatrical performances across the U.S., Theatre Fairfield’s spring production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus was forced to close the curtain on its live performances just weeks before its scheduled premiere at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on April 20. Although initially heartbroken, students in the production’s cast and crew remained determined to share their months of hard work and creativity with audiences. Holding fast to the age-old adage that the show must go on, they combined their artistic talents once again, this time to create a new and immersive virtual theatrical experience called TITUS Online.

Hosted on Theatre Fairfield’s website, TITUS Online offers patrons a behind-the-scenes look and digital dive into the show’s production using a compilation of rehearsal footage, combat training videos and photography, cast and creative team profiles, 3-D set models, costume renderings, and more. Updated with new content on a regular basis, the website also features a “digiturgy,” an online dramaturgy, compiled by theatre major Fallon Sullivan ‘20, that provides an in-depth analysis of the play’s history and inner workings, as well as student essays examining the tragedy’s commentary on race, sexism, and brutality in Elizabethan England. 

TITUS Online began as a digiturgy that Fallon was already in the process of creating before spring break,” explained show director, producer, and visual and performing arts professor Martha Schmoyer LoMonaco, PhD. “When it became clear that the show would need to be cancelled, we immediately ramped up the idea of putting our glorious production online as a way to celebrate the work of our fabulous students and guest artists, and give our audiences a window into the breadth and depth of our production.”

On Monday, April 13, the Titus company celebrated the virtual production's official "opening" with a Zoom cast party, during which students were invited to dress in costume, bring noisemakers, and toast the production while sharing favorite memories and anecdotes from the play. 

“This transition from production to virtual theatre has been like nothing I've experienced in theatre before,“ said Park Lytle ’21, who plays Saturninus, the lascivious and untrustworthy son of the deceased emperor in Titus Andronicus. “When the cancellation was first announced, it obviously broke a lot of hearts. But more than anything, we just wanted to get our work out there for people to see, and that's why I think so many of us jumped at the premise of TITUS Online. I'm beyond proud of the work we've put into [this project] and think it's incredibly fortunate to have so many skilled and passionate members of the Theatre Fairfield community willing to take the steps to transform Titus into an online experience.”

Throughout the month of May, Theatre Fairfield patrons will be able to gain even greater insight into the play’s production by attending “Marti Talks Theatre,” a virtual program presented as part of the Quick Center’s new “quick sessions,” a series of free programs designed to bring theatre, music, and visual arts to audience members in their homes.

During livestreams on Thursdays (May 7, 14 & 21) at 11 a.m. via Vimeo at thequicklive.com, Dr. LoMonaco will interview members of the Titus cast and discuss various aspects of the production from stage combat and character development to the play’s socially relevant commentary. For more information, visit www.quickcenter.com.

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Last modified: 04-17-20 1:23 AM

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