The curtains are rising on a new semester at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and with it, a new lineup of shows from the school’s drama department. With a few shows including “Tartuffe”, “12 Angry Jurors” and “The Sound of Music”, dazzling performances are sure to embellish the stage.
The overall energy coming into this semester has been upbeat as students and faculty return to campus. Director Matthew Caron is excited to be back in the theater to start planning the spring musical, even with the precautions surrounding COVID-19.
“There is a bit of caution because everyone is nervous [about the pandemic], but we have to move forward as best we can with the information that has been given to us and the safety precautions that we have, ”Caron said. “We love our program and our theater, and in order to do theater we need a live audience, so we are moving forward in the safest way possible. “
With the current pandemic, everything is being done to ensure the safety of the actors and the theater team. The director of public relations for the theater and dance department, Corrie Eggimann, noted that the theater takes the same precautions as the rest of the university.
“If students choose to perform without a mask, they must either prove they are vaccinated or take weekly Covid tests,” Eggimann said. “For performances, clients must be masked all the time in the theater.”
Despite the return of the arts, the surge of the Omicron variant is still ongoing. With the crises that arose during the 2020-2021 school year, the theater department feels better equipped this year to deal with these situations. Every director has contingency plans in case an actor falls with COVID-19.
The spring musical “The Sound of Music” was chosen to inspire the community to come back and enjoy the theater. With recognizable music and memories linked to the show across generations, it is sure to draw a crowd.
“The past two years have been difficult not only for the arts in general, but also for our program. We hope that the name recognition of “The Sound of Music” will spark people’s enthusiasm and bring them back to the theater, ”Caron said. “There’s a lot of familiarity that I think will tap into people’s nostalgia that will make them happy to be back in the theater.”
The anxieties of COVID-19 are not hampering the theater department as they do not want to leave MSU or the community left behind behind the scenes.
“’The Sound of Music’ is going to be a fun celebration to show how students have persisted during the pandemic,” Eggimann said.
“I want the community to feel welcome and experience this shared storytelling between the audience and the cast. I hope people will remember the magic of the theater when they return, ”said Caron.