The Show Must Go On: Mainstage Drama’s Solution to a Production-less Pandemic

2020’s…”shenanigans” have done more than inconvenience Endicott’s arts; the large and passionately performed productions put on by Endicott’s Mainstage (a section of the Performing Arts Department advised by Katie Clarke, Director of Theater) are no exception.

Typically performed live on stage for a crowded audience in one of Endicott’s theaters, Mainstage shows act as a great way for Endicott’s theater departments to display their talent, hard work, and passions to a public and supportive crowd. However, due to new social distancing and other campus safety policies, live stage performances are no longer possible. To adapt to these new challenges, Mainstage has teamed up with Endicott’s Film department to create a more accessible and safe experience.

In place of a live performance, the show will instead be pre-recorded and released online for audiences to stream. Not only will this allow for larger audiences and safer viewing, but the pre-recorded nature of the production has allowed the students involved to take advantage of their new freedoms behind-the-scenes. Instead of simply filming the production as it would normally play out on stage, actors will now be able to shoot at various other locations for their scenes to emphasize realistic environments (and relieve stagehands). A digital production also opens up the door for detailed camera work, quick cuts between scenes, and other conveniences not otherwise provided by a live show.

Specifically, those behind Mainstage, including student co-managers Nicole Lerner and Koby Hirschaut, are currently working with students enrolled in Contemporary Techniques in Digital Film, an upper-level digital film course taught by Ellie Pye, Director of the Digital Media Center. Since the course’s primary focus this semester is Cinematography, they are using this production as an educational opportunity for them to practice their talents in digital filmmaking. This also allows the drama students to have an hands-on opportunity in translating their production to a purely digital video format.

Director Pye offered her own insight on the collaboration by saying, “Anytime we can collaborate amongst the different majors is a benefit to us as instructors, but mostly for our students. This is because it allows them to experience real-world partnerships and explore relationships outside their usual discipline.”

As for the production itself, Mainstage will be performing Polaroid Stories, a series of plays portraying characters based on mythological figures such as Narcissus and Persephone, but set in modern times as teenage street kids. Scenes follow the mythologically inspired characters as they engage with one another on a gritty and contemporary level.

Mainstage student Nate Magoon, now on his third consecutive year as an Endicott theater student, shared, “I’m super excited to be a part of this project, I think we all are. Theater is so important especially during these times so it’s great that we’re able to use the resources we have in the Communications Department to help bring Theater back to audiences once again.”

Polaroid Stories is gearing up to be a well-adapted Phoenix rising from the ashes of a

Coronavirus-affected Endicott, and hopefully one of many inspiring stories of perseverance to come.