The premiere of fall musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” will be streamed at 7 p.m., Friday, November 20. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this performance will be the first streamed musical in the history of Visitation theater.
Performing Arts Director Neptune Pringle III is optimistic about the new setting of the performance. Postponed from last spring, “Jesus Christ Superstar” appears to be optimal for a virtual setting. “The great thing about ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is that there isn’t really dialogue,” he said. “It’s a rock opera. The entire show is sung.
The performance will be professionally filmed in various locations around campus by cohort starting November 1. Although vocals and instrumentals have already been pre-recorded, actors will perform their scenes, sometimes without any of their fellow actors if they are in different cohorts. “Movie magic! That’s the great thing about film,” Pringle said regarding the editing process. “The actors and tech crew have been getting a real crash course in how major motion pictures are made.” The footage will be cut and maneuvered so the actors appear as if they speak and interact with each other.
Stage Manager Ellie Rubin `21 has witnessed the dedication of the tech team since the previous spring. She recounts the many months spent on the onstage set design, lighting, and sound production and worries the outdoor scenes will not be able to portray the extent of the work they put into it. “There’s been meticulous planning in making sure everyone who has dedicated so many hours to this production gets screen time, and I think this is the perfect show to highlight some of the beautiful spots we have on campus, especially in the fall,” Rubin said. “It certainly isn’t the show we envisioned last year, but I think the chance for actors to practice acting to a camera and for tech to adapt to new filming locations is ultimately going to be a positive experience for the Visitation theater department,” she concluded, echoing Pringle’s excitement for the new virtual format.
Actress Maddy Walsh `21 who plays Mary Magdalene notes the difficulty of the more imaginative acting. Walsh comments that the vocal aspect of the musical is easier because they must record at home. “I was able to sit there all day singing the song over and over again until I got one I really loved. Onstage, I only got one shot and that was it,” she said. “By pre-recording it, I was able to make some character choices in advance to put into the music. I’m able to plan it all out.”
Regarding acting, Walsh said, “It’ll all be behind the mask, but we don’t even have to sing or talk in person. I’m going to have to use my eyes a lot!
Despite the loss of the live audience, many involved in the arts believe this virtual format will allow those who might not have been able to make it to watch the performance live.
“I think the cool thing with the arts is that we are always creating, thinking, and finding new ways to do things,” Pringle said. “We are keeping the arts alive.”
Get your ticket to the performances November 20-22 at visi.booktix.com!
This article will appear in an upcoming edition of the Wicket.