On the stage of the Ted Daigle Auditorium, eight short plays have been in the works for an upcoming production. But unlike most theatre productions, all of the directors of this show are students.
St. Thomas University’s directing class will put on Creative Control — a compilation of one-act plays that are less than 20 minutes each.
Nathanael Telman, a fourth-year student and one of the student directors, said the pandemic presented an immense challenge for theatre over the past two years.
“Extrapolating [live theatre] between screens — it’s very difficult,” Telman said. “All of the choices you’re previously making for a live audience, you have to direct into a small webcam.”
He believes that virtual theatre is the combination of live theatre and film, which is why it was difficult to navigate. Luckily his days of virtual theatre are over and he will now be directing one of the plays in the Ted Daigle Auditorium.
“So much of live theatre is about the human connection between people both onstage but also between the actors and the audience,” said Telman.
The student directors have been involved in all aspects of Creative Control, from virtually casting actors to promoting the show on social media.
“Basically, Creative Control is just an outlet to show audiences what we’ve been working on all semester,” said Gregory Robinson, another fourth-year student.
Robinson is thrilled to see his classmates back on stage.
“I’m really excited to watch them flourish and pool [together] their skill set,” he said. “I know they’re going to be great.”
While the plot of each play remains a surprise, Robinson said directors chose works from a list of around 100 options. All of the plays have a small number of people on stage — a maximum of four characters.
“[With] fewer actors, you have more time to develop … individual characters,” said Telman.
Backstage, Creative Control has the assistance of professor Lisa Anne Ross, technical director Chris Saad and general stage manager Madison Nadeau. Each director also had an assistant stage manager to support them during the rehearsal process.
“[The team has] been absolute rockstars throughout this whole process and we can’t thank them enough,” said Robinson.
Creative Control will open for two nights from March 31 to April 1 at 7 p.m. Robinson said the class is trying to see how many people can attend without breaking COVID-19 protocols.
“We’ll be making sure that audiences are spaced out,” he said.
The tickets will be “pay what you can” so students can enjoy affordable theatre.
“I think it’d be lovely if people came [to see the show]. I think we’ve got a great diversity of theatre to watch,” said Telman.