“Bodies in Motion,” “Anon(ymous)” and “Marion Bridge,” the last three shows presented by Auburn University Theatre, were all canceled due to the University’s switch to remote instruction to protect against the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Bodies in Motion" was a dance concert that was conceived and directed by Jeri Dickey. According to Auburn University Theatre's website, it "explores the realm of human experience and expression through movement." The show had been set to open on March 19 and continue until March 22.
“When I got news that the production was being canceled, I was heartbroken,” said Anna Vu, sophomore in theatre management and the stage manager of “Bodies in Motion.” “We had been working on this show since January, and it saddens me that all the hard work of the dancers, choreographers and designers could not be shown to an audience. I was especially heartbroken for seniors who couldn’t perform in their last dance concert.”
Auditions for the show were held in January, and those who auditioned had to go through various types of dances such as ballet, tap and contemporary.
“There were a variety of dances from ballet to Braveheart to Broadway,” Vu said. “This season wanted to focus on student work, and I believe this show truly did that.”
Almost 50 people were working on the production before it was canceled. The production offered hands-on experience for those who participated and gave one credit hour for the labor they put in.
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“Actors get an applied acting credit from rehearsals and performances, but I get the choice to do a production practicum, which is similar to an applied acting credit,” Vu said. “A production practicum is basically getting hands-on experience in an area of theatre.”
Jordan Denson, freshman in musical theatre, played La Cienega in “Bring It On: The Musical” and was set to play Anon, the leading role in “Anon(ymous).”
“Anon(ymous)” was a staged reading set to run from March 28 to March 29. The play is about the journey of a boy separated from his mother in a shipwreck who travels and experiences many different situations in the search for his mother.
“I assumed that 'Anon(ymous)' was going to be canceled due to the shut down because we already had such a short window for rehearsal. We wouldn’t be allowed back on campus until after the supposed performances were long passed,” Denson said.
The cast for “Marion Bridge,” the last spring production, had been rehearsing since Feb. 24.
“We were fully blocked,” said Emma Fox, junior in musical theatre. “So we, in theory, could’ve opened the show fairly easily.”
Fox was going to play the role of Agnes in “Marion Bridge.”
The play is about three sisters returning home to care for their dying mother, while confronting not only the realities of the present moment, but also the truths of their own lives, as described on Auburn University Theatre's website.
The show was set to run from April 9 to April 18. Although the first two shows were canceled, students still had some hope that "Marion Bridge" would be able to run after the first announcement that the school would be closing.
“I was spending my spring break in New York City with the theatre majors, and while at lunch, we all got the email,” Fox said. “A lot of tears were shed about the closing of the first two shows. We still weren’t sure what would happen with it.”
The school announced a permanent transition to online classes for the rest of the semester, and with it “Marion Bridge” was officially canceled.
“I’m sad that we have to close the show, and that all of the hard work that everyone put into it won’t be able to be seen by the public,” Fox said. “But I know that for the safety and well-being of everyone, this had to happen.”
Correction 10 a.m.: A previous version of this story made it seem like the Auburn University Theatre Department wasn't going to give academic credit to students who had their shows canceled because of the coronavirus campus closure. The department has a "plan for all students taking those applied acting credits to receive them for the work they have done or continue to do remotely," according to the theatre department. The Plainsman regrets the error.
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