Exploring Theater Performance Amid COVID-19: A Conversation with Student Regan von Richter
Regan von Richter
The world of performing arts became largely quiet at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
But faculty in the School of Communication and the Arts and Schuster Theatre have used innovation and out-of-the-box thinking to continue providing theatre experiences for students throughout the Fall 2020 semester.
We got in touch with some of these students to talk about their experiences, which have challenged many of them to take unique and creative approaches to theatre performance. We’re delighted to share here a conversation with Regan von Richter, a junior in theatre and communication arts.
Q: How would you summarize your theater experience during the pandemic?
My theater experience during this pandemic has been difficult, but extremely rewarding. At first, I was upset that I wouldn't get to experience theater in the way I had always loved it, but my experience with this pandemic in mind has showed me that theater is so much stronger and has such a bigger purpose to fulfill even during this challenging time. Theater is an art that welcomes creativity, uniqueness and change. I think theater has been one aspect of my life that almost works alongside this pandemic rather than against it and that has been an amazing experience that I can say that I have gone through.
Q: Can you share a theater experience that has been impactful for you during the COVID-19 pandemic?
One theater experience that was extremely impactful for me during this pandemic was my recording of my monologue for our production of Love Notes. I had this amazing opportunity to represent a dear friend of mine and her story that she created for this show. I had a beautiful costume, fabulous makeup, and a great hairstyle that made me feel like I had always felt doing shows even though I was wearing a mask. The effort and time put into safety and precautions for the recording made me feel so much better and more comfortable performing. While it was strange to perform with so many precautions and safety measures, the people around me that I had the chance to work with made that show special to me and unforgettable.
Q: What have you learned from this experience?
I feel like I have learned that theater is so resilient and so much stronger than I have ever thought. This pandemic has limited our interaction with people and limited our normal activities. While this presents a challenge, theater has taken that challenge head on and encouraged its actors and producers to use their imagination and creativity to make theater during this time something completely different. In a way, this pandemic encouraged us to step outside of our comfort zones and to radically think outside the box as times change.
Q: How do you think your program has prepared you during this pandemic?
I think my program has prepared me during this pandemic by encouraging me to be resourceful and to use my imagination in theater. Theater is such a fluid concept and is always changing and I feel like my program has valued me as a person throughout this process. The people around me have valued my contributions to our recent projects and have encouraged me to be my unique self. My program has prepared me to be accommodating while not giving up the best creative parts of my personality and I am so grateful for that.