Students taking the Acting III course at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) this Spring semester were tasked with creating a theater company, under the leadership of film director and SCC instructor Don K. Williams. The objective of the course called for students to produce and act in an open-air performance of the William Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on campus.
As all educational institutions have had to shift to remote learning for the remainder of the school year, the new virtual format has presented challenges for students and instructors alike. The theatrical arts students at SCC’s Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre (SSFT) overcame the challenge in an innovative way.
Observing stay-at-home orders, the class was held through video conferencing.
Student producer Chelsea Sturgeon said, “When the pandemic hit, we had to come up with an idea we could do separately. Don presented making it a reality show, loosely based on ‘The Office’.”
The students approved of the idea.
“Since we had been having class on Zoom, we came up with the idea to use that format as a tool to capture the show and improv confessionals,” noted Sturgeon.
Williams said, “I am impressed we found a way to make it work. It could have easily been overwhelming for them but they have handled it extremely well and made it exciting. You couldn’t ask for a better ensemble.”
The natural challenges of functioning during a global crisis created an original experiential learning curve and opportunity at SCC.
“We thought we were the pioneers on campus, but the students have taken on the mantle for being pioneers online. Art always finds a way and our students are finding a way to do it,” said Williams.
The play will be presented on Facebook and YouTube.
Student marketing manager Nick Loope said, “This whole process has been a lot of fun, and while we were presented with a rare kind of challenge, we were still able to create content for a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.”
The four-part virtual play premieres the week of April 20 (coinciding with William Shakespeare’s birthday of course) on SCC’s Facebook page. Episodes will air at 6pm Friday nights from April 24 to May 15.
Learn more about Scottsdale Community College at www.scottsdalecc.edu.