Shelter-In-Plays From the Fresno State Experimental Theatre Company

Jan 6, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Education, Lorie Lewis Ham, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

The Fresno State Experimental Theatre Company is presenting more virtual theatre available to watch as of this weekend. We recently chatted with one of the students involved, Teya Juarez, whose show is called Z.

KRL: Where did the idea to do these online shows come from?

Teya: The Fresno State Experimental Theatre Company still wanted to produce art during the pandemic. And without approval for in-person rehearsals, we moved everything to virtual production!

KRL: How was it decided who would do each show?

Teya: The original ten-minute plays were submitted by Fresno State students, and each playwright was given the opportunity to either direct their own show, or choose a director. There were also stage managers and designers for each production. Auditions were held for all available roles.

KRL: Is each show written and directed by someone else?

Teya: Some playwrights doubled as the director, and others have a separate director.

KRL: Are they all available at once?

Teya: Yes, all shows will be available on Friday, January 8, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. The link will be posted on the ETC Facebook event. There will also be a Facebook Live panel with the playwrights and directors at 6:45 p.m. on Friday the 8!

KRL: Was their teacher/Fresno State staff involvement is it totally student projects?

Teya: The Experimental Theatre Company faculty advisor is Kathleen McKinley. She offered us guidance and support, but gave us total freedom to do these shows however we wanted. These are pretty much entirely student produced!

KRL: Did you get help in putting it together from other people or do it all on your own?

Teya: Kathleen, ETC chair Dylan Murphy, and the entire ETC board were there for us every step of the way. They offered us help from design to filming to editing.

KRL: Did you have video auditions?

Teya: We held live virtual auditions via Zoom!

KRL: Did each person record their own parts?

Teya: As there was no contact between members of the production whatsoever, recording was either done over Zoom or by the cast members themselves via smart phones or cameras.

KRL: How did you come up with the idea for your show and what is it about?

Teya: My ten-minute play is Z, a devised-style piece about the unique struggles and expectations of Generation Z. This show was sort of an outlet for frustrations and fears I have as a member of Generation Z. I hope this piece resonates with other members of my generation, and opens the eyes of people in other generations.

KRL: What was the hardest part of this project?

Teya: Initially, the hardest part was figuring out how I was going to execute this piece entirely virtually. But by the end, the project being entirely virtual didn’t at all feel like a burden, but something that pushed me to be even more creative.

KRL: What was the most fun?

Teya: While it was also the hardest part, the most fun part was the editing. I chose to have my actors record their parts on their smart phones and I edited the final product together. I was so thankful for the talent and dedication of my actors, and it was so amazing to see them speaking the words I had written.

KRL: How many actors are involved?

Teya: There are 14 actors across the five shows!

KRL: How long did it take to put together?

Teya: The shows were chosen and cast in early September and were all filmed and edited before the end of the semester in December!

KRL: Are the shows all free to watch?

Teya: Yes, they are all free to watch!

KRL: Will they be up indefinitely?

Teya: Yes!

KRL: Where can people watch them?

Teya: The shows will be up on YouTube and the link will be posted on Facebook.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Teya: I hope everyone enjoys these pieces! I am so excited that Fresno State has given students the opportunity to produce original work.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors–many of whom you will have seen on local stages. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean. A new Christmas episode went up this week!

Check out more theatre articles & other local entertainment articles (including many more online/streaming shows) in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


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