When I am not teaching, you may find me at the theatre preparing for another role. Though I have played an English teacher twice, I am often someone quite different from myself: a seventy-two-year-old bag lady, a medieval abbess, or a Spanish-speaking maid.
When the pandemic shut down live theatre, I found myself performing on a virtual stage, playing the role of Duchess Fredricka in the Shared Radiance Zoom production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Though I missed the face-to-face experience of live theatre, playing the duchess introduced me to performing on camera with a green screen and learning how to carry on conversations convincingly with actors who were invisible to me.
After the pandemic restrictions relaxed temporarily, I found myself performing live again but in a way that was new to me. Goodly Frame’s Finding Shakespeare required me to play three different characters in a fifteen-minute outdoor production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Now actors find themselves in rehearsals akin to–but not the same as–the ones of our pre-pandemic nights at the theatre. They don literal masks until they step on stage to wear their figurative ones. I look forward to the days when I will not have to pull off a mask before I step into the light, but for now I am simply grateful for the innovative pandemic-era theatre opportunities I’ve had.