The Show Must Go On At CSUDH Despite COVID-19csudhbulletin November 9, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Empty theatre seats now filled from the comfort of one’s home. Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash.
By Melany Ruiz, Staff Reporter
California State University, Dominguez Hills still perseveres despite the global unrest by having new productions from the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance that will be released this fall. From playwright Josefina Lopez, “Confessions of Women from East L.A.,” will be directed by Stefani Baez, former CSUDH alumni and now Theatre and Dance department professor. This production will be accessible to students virtually on November 12, 13, and 14.
The play consists of nine stories told by Latinx women in East Los Angeles. The department chair gets together every year to distinguish the shows that best fit the campus population for students, and “Confession of Women from East L.A.” meets the criteria. The play went through the proper channels before getting approved for in-person rehearsals to be developed.
The play itself will explore topical events, such as stereotypes, the importance of voting, and social protest. These themes shown in the play are relevant to the current events happening. Rehearsals will be held in-person and while testing is not required, hand sanitizers, masks, and social distancing are mandatory on set.
Baez even completed a COVID-19 training, to direct the production that abides by the appropriate safety guidelines. Four actors in the production have been approved not to wear a mask while performing. Everyone else performing must remain six-feet apart or further from the rest of the crew during rehearsals.
Confession of Women from East L.A. will be accessible to students via Livestream at an affordable cost of $5. “So for the price of a cup of coffee you can watch the show,” Baez said. The show is being promoted on social platforms for students, staff, and faculty to access. Other productions, such as “Crossroads,” a screen dance event and, “A Surge of Power,” which tells the story of a group of strangers that meet at a Black Lives Matter protest, are set to be entirely virtual.
“To quote Hamilton, ‘there’s nothing like being in the room where it happens,’” Baez added how in-person monologues and scenes add an essential human element for the audience. Andrea Velazquez, a third-year theatre student at CSUDH, auditioned to play a part in “Confessions of Women from East L.A.,” landing her first acting role for this production at our campus. Before this role, Velazquez worked behind-the-scenes on other university productions.
Auditions took place on campus with the required COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing face coverings and following the required six-feet apart social distancing. They consisted of monologues and choreography that are in production. “Having committed to this play, we are committing not to go out to any parties, not to anywhere we can risk ourselves to getting COVID-19 so easily,” Velasquez said.
Velazquez will be playing “Calletana” who is an “elotera,” a corn-selling street food vendor, and “Roxie,” who is a self-defense instructor. The characters in this show will explore the underlying struggle and sacrifices Latinx women have to make under different circumstances.
For example, Calletana faces the battle of her business being shut down by police when that is her sole income to support her family, and Roxie as having to use her defensive skills to guard herself against someone she felt would cause her harm.
The nine stories of these women in the play show different perspectives and struggle that Latinx women face roaming in the streets of East L.A. Velazquez plans to pursue future roles in the several productions that CSUDH will be releasing this year.
“Even though we won’t have an audience, I think it’s still going to be quite as entertaining as it would’ve been in person,” Velazquez said. “Being live-streamed, you will still be able to watch us live, we’re still performing for you guys, so you guys are with us.”
To Purchase tickets for Confessions of Women from East L.A. Please visit the Theatre-Arts ticket info page.