Virtual Monsters in a Virtual Time; Theater moves to an online stage.

Planning for She Kills Monsters started long before we could even imagine a time where we had to isolate away in our homes, masks would become mandatory, and Broadway would have to cancel their shows and seasons. When the pandemic hit, the near future of theater was entirely uncertain and the drama world seemed to be in turmoil. For a while, there was a fear that no one would be able to do productions for a while, and She Kills Monsters was no exception. Thankfully everyone on board are troopers who didn’t let this upheaval waiver us, and we pressed on with our ideas and designs.

Slaying the Dragon of Uncertainty.

Today, the production of UVU’s performance of She Kills Monsters is in full swing, and we owe all of that to our dedicated, persistent director, and our staff and faculty who were willing to do whatever they can to help us keep this project afloat. Our Director, Tristin Smith, spent so much energy and time brainstorming, connecting with others, and trying to find a way for us to keep this show as close to our original vision as possible. He would not rest until we found a way to keep the designs and ideals that we all as a production team entered into this project with.  After a few weeks of thinking and planning, the decision was finally made; She Kills Monsters wouldn’t become a zoom call show, or even simply be canceled. Instead we found a way to still do elaborate costumes, makeup, lighting, sound, and prop designs by filming the scenes as if they were on a movie set, and turning it into a live stream of the finished product!

Even More Change of Plans.

As we tried to find a way to keep this production alive and full of the energy we started it with, we were met with even more unexpected changes! The author of the script, Qui Ngyuen, had made a decision to rewrite the play in a way that could be performed in Drama’s current situation; a zoom call or digital format. In the process he rewrote a lot of the lines of the show, such as changing the ages of the main character from her 20s to a high school student, and making the story take place in modern times rather than the 90s. This led to the new script seeming almost like a complete rewrite! At least 60% percent, if not more, of the lines are now different than they were before. To have to rememorize something new well into the process isn’t an easy thing, but our actors have been taking it in stride and doing their absolute best at rolling with the punches these crazy times have thrown at them.

Safety First! 

Our biggest priority is and always will be the safety of our students and faculty, which proved to be the most recurring roadblock for this production. The question was always asked, “How do we create a production that still feels like theater, without putting anyone at risk. To this end, any and all safety precautions have been put in place. Each scene is being filmed one character at a time, with a careful limit on who can be in or around the filming area or on set at any time, helping us maintain a healthy distance and keep everyone safe. The scenes will then all be edited together to make the full production, which I am very excited to see! Weeks of planning and emails and brainstorming went into finding out the way we can pull this off and to be as clean and safe as possible, and it’s paying off!