Theater department puts on zoom production

“Good Fortune: A Cautionary Tale,” story and concept by JJC theater faculty member Brian Fruits and script by Andrew Pederson, was performed via Zoom on Feb. 25, 26, 27, and 28.

Fruits directed the production with Julie Giampaolo as designer coordinator and collaborating faculty member.

Because COVID-19 still poses a threat to gatherings, cast members had to adapt to performing in front of a screen versus in front of a live audience.

“One of the biggest challenges performing on Zoom was not knowing where to look!” Katherine Quezada, cast member, said.

“On stage, I never had to question where my character would look, from another character to just staring into the distance. But through Zoom, I would go from looking at the camera to looking at the character on the screen,” Quezada said.

The cast members had to ensure that audience members would feel present, despite only being able to watch on a screen.

“Being on stage, you are able to express your character’s feelings and emotions with your whole entire body,” Samantha Zigmant, cast member, said.

Without being able to do this, cast members had to compensate in other ways.

“On Zoom, all you see are our faces, so all our emotions had to be presented through facial expressions and some hand gestures,” Zigmant said.

In December, JJC produced a radio play, which required adaptability that focused on different aspects than those in “Good Fortune: A Cautionary Tale.”

“Since we could not express ourselves with stage movements or body language, I had to put my main focus on my facial expressions.” Quezada said.

The Zoom performance was one that the cast members had to adapt to. The performance allowed for the actors to step outside of their comfort zones which paved the way for growth and new experiences.

“Being able to audition in my own room, work at my own pace and re-record the audition as many times as I felt necessary was extremely helpful and made the whole experience super simple and anxiety free,” Valeria Ibarra, cast member, said.

While the actors had their own challenges to overcome from their online production, the people behind the scenes also had to work just as hard to make the show come together.

“What people don’t notice is that behind us, there are technicians, cast members, directors, and we put so much time, effort, sweat, and tears into the stage,” Quezada said.

For performers, the stage is often considered their second home. Many put in extra time to perfect their performance. Being able to perform at home didn’t mean less effort.

“Being able to comfortably act from my home [also allowed me to] not have to worry about how many people I was going to be in a room with,” Zigmant said.

This allowed cast members to spend more time focusing on memorizing lines and analyzing characters. Cast members had plenty of room to discover more about themselves as actors.

“I was able to relax more and really get into character considering this play does take place in real time and during the pandemic we are all currently living through,” Ibarra said.

A new way of getting into character shed light on the many strengths of the actors that they may have not considered prior to the experience. They noticed their strengths not just on-stage but as regular people too.

“Something I learned about myself is that I am a reserved person and I need to take chances more often,” Zigmant said.

Zigmant took a chance on this play and got casted in a huge role in her first JJC production.

“If I would take chances more often, who knows what other things I could be doing. It’s all about just finding confidence, believing in yourself, and going with your heart,” Zigmant said.

Cast members are eager to get back to in-person performances, but being able to perform from home allowed them to switch things up.

“I recognized that performing makes me happy and therefore, I must not give up so easily. I could not be prouder of myself for choosing to keep going and chase my dreams until they become my reality,” Ibarra said.

These actors will never forget the lessons they learned. They look ahead to brighter semesters with the ability to interact with others face-to-face.

“Although it was nice to be at home… I still miss live theatre and hope for a better year for us to come!” Quezada said.