Friday, November 6, 2020

Eric Conway: Final days of Theatre Morgan Virtual Production: Marisol! Read the review!

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello Morgan Fine and Performing Arts Community,

Last weekend, Theatre Morgan premiered their Fall production of José Rivera’s Marisol.  The production was historic because this was Theatre Morgan’s first virtual production ever!  Given our world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, many performing artists must creatively find ways to share their craft. Theatre houses all over the country have turned to creating virtual performances of their dramas and shows in hope of finding ways to still engage their audiences - Theatre Morgan is no different!

The challenge for Theatre Morgan is that classes were not held on campus during the Fall 2020 semester as a result of our pandemic.  It would have been easy to just say that we would not have any public performances this semester or even the entire academic year, however, we would be denying our Morgan Theatre majors the opportunity to hone in on their skills as actors. Theatre faculty decided to press forward with our Fall season, albeit virtual.  Given that post COVID, live performance opportunities probably will not be as robust, at least initially, the skillset of acting to the camera has much more value than acting to the big stage.  Acting for the camera is much different than acting for the stage.  The virtual production was an instructive lab for our students.

The drama takes place in New York City.  Please see attached a synopsis of the plot below.

I virtually attended Marisol this weekend, and was utterly impressed with the production.  Director Reggie Phoenix embraced this opportunity, and managed to get some very compelling performances from the Theatre Morgan actors.  I was initially concerned about viewing the production on a monitor, however, like a good movie, once the production began, the plot was so intriguing, that I forgot about the novelty of the medium.  Technical Director J.R. Schroyer was responsible for skillfully assembling all the disparate parts to make this virtual production possible. 

Because of the pandemic all scenes were shot in remote locations for the actors - i.e., the actors were never in the same space.  Make up and lighting equipment were given to each student to create their character and scenes.  Each student was responsible for creating the “right” look with their respective camera/phones.  All scenes were filmed with a common backdrop, with appropriate images of the set thus connecting the actors in the same virtual space.

We want everyone to see this production!  You may purchase a ticket if you like, but if not,  there is an option for you to donate at $0 - thus not keeping anyone from virtually attending.  If you have never seen a Theatre Morgan production, this is a novel way to first experience Theatre Morgan.  All proceeds will go to a Theatre Morgan scholarship fund which will be tax-deductible contribution in memory of Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap or Clinton Thomas Johnson.   

I strongly encourage you to virtually attend a performance next weekend on Friday, November 6, 2020, or Saturday, November 7, 2020 with performances every two hours starting at 11:30 AM.  Do not wait until just before a performance, as you must order your virtual ticket at least two hours before a performance.  

Enjoy the virtual show!


We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Carl Murphy Fine Arts Center, Room 329C
Baltimore, MD 21251

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