Closing the Curtains on BC’s Theatre shows in Spring 2020

Written By Michela Arlia  

   On Wednesday, Mar. 11, at around 3:30 pm in the Department of Theater’s costume shop class, phones and Twitter accounts started buzzing off the hook. With countless online petitions going around urging CUNY and SUNY campuses to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the class did not even have to look at their screens to know what news was breaking throughout the campus, state and city. 

   Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday, March 11 a full shutdown of all CUNY and SUNY campuses, where students would begin remote learning sessions starting Thursday, March 19. With all the hustle and bustle of the actions being taken in the moment, one question stood for all performance majors; what would happen to all of their events?

   What would happen to all of the hard work put into developing shows such as Small Mouth Sounds, a production set to open in the coming weeks, or the rehearsals for productions such as Rhinoceros that just started their pre-production process Monday, March 9?

   Not only are concerns raised for the theatre department, but for the music conservatory as well. What would happen to all of the planned concerts and senior showcases that students have been working towards for months and even years?

   While administration at the moment does not have all of the answers and are as shocked as the rest of the student body, two undergrad students share their opinions and what little information they know. 

   “They’re not 100% sure what is going to happen, but as of right now they are postponing productions until they can figure out a solid plan,” said student Nia Blizzard, an Assistant Stage Manager for Brooklyn College’s upcoming production of Rhinoceros. 

   Everyone is playing a waiting game at the moment, wondering what is to happen to the accomplishments they looked forward to presenting to the community.

   Senior Melissa Fishman is a member of the conservatory of music at Brooklyn College. She says it’s just a matter of postponing and waiting.

“We’re all a bit confused for sure, We cancelled events at least until next week and we postponed our big orchestra event until further notice,” Fishman said.  

   Though there is little information known on all performances across campus at the moment, students such as Fishman and Blizzard say as more is known, everyone will continue to update the Brooklyn College community. 

   “All our events are gonna have limited audiences and basically even our parents can’t come which sucks,” says Fishman.

   An e-mail sent out to the students majoring in Theatre by Undergraduate Deputy Chair for the Department Laura Tesman reads, “The department has officially postponed the remaining three productions of the season, and are assessing our best options to return to producing them. As we continue to get information from the university as to when we can start to think about reassembling together in person and as a collective we will continue to address resuming the season.  This might mean that we move some of our productions into the summer and/or Fall semester as possible solutions.

   “[…] We will consider all viable solutions as we understand when we will be able to come together in person again.”

   Details are still being finalized on what is to happen to the performance-based programs and majors on campus, as productions and hands-on instruction are needed for many to gain full credit for courses and graduate with the necessary credits. Hopefully, more information will come in as soon as the academic recess is over.

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