LSU's School of Theatre has started to show its productions through Zoom calls to keep audience and cast members safe during the pandemic.

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LSU’s theatre department is kicking off this semester with a live Zoom production. 

The production team is using new software to arrange Zoom chats on a screen. By manipulating the background, the director is able to create what looks like a more interactive environment.  

The director Dr. Shannon Walsh said they had to get creative to give their graduating students a challenging production to earn credit before they enter the work force. The students will be rehearsing entirely online as well. 

“To create something that was exciting and engaging for everybody involved has been […] a challenge but also one that I think now that the rubber is really hitting the road on putting it together, everybody is just in," Walsh said.

Even though her students are fully committed to their passion, switching to an entirely online production is no simple task. The production’s lead Natheyon Taylor said he's often taken out of "the moment." He explained how there's nothing like the chemistry that takes place on stage. 

“When you’re in person, you know, you get to look that person in the face, and you get to see their honest reactions, you know, and it’s like now […] we have to look at the wall," Taylor said.

Staying in character is also a challenge when the students are working as their own camera crew. Although, Taylor is finishing his performance degree with a positive outlook on the experience.

“Honestly, just for me, I’m just grateful," Taylor said.

Walsh expects the theatre program to host in-person performances again by Fall 2021, but she does believe some changes like Zoom rehearsals and Zoom auditions will be here to stay.