From the stage to the computer screen


Screenhot from Nicholaus Garcia's YouTube

LMC student Ian Panela performing in the New Play Festival 2020.

Marjani Michelle Baptiste, Staff Writer

The theater is the heart of the Dramatic Arts program and since the pandemic hit, the stage has been vacant. The pandemic has reduced in-person activities on campus and this has affected the program’s normal fall schedule.  

But, as they say in Hollywood, the show must go on. Los Medanos College professors and student actors are not letting the pandemic stop them from doing what they love, and despite the challenges they are managing to create entertainment for the college community.

When the campus closed last spring, they adapted their plans for the annual New Play Festival and the students recorded their parts of the program at home. Then professor Nick Garcia and Instructional Assistant Cesar Reyes edited the video. 

“The community that has been built continues to support each other through the pandemic.”

— Cesar Reyes

“Normally the New Play Festival is a three-day event,” said Reyes, who explained that there are usually two days of short plays written by students followed by an improv show.

The spring effort is a 40-minute video entitled NPF 2020 available on YouTube.

In addition, the students in the drama program are working on a new project. 

“One of the projects in the works is a full-feature film that was student-written,” said Reyes, who added they have been working on it via Zoom, including the stage production.

The LMC Little Theater is just one of the many being affected by this pandemic — even Broadway is remaining closed.

“We literally cannot reopen unless there is a confidence in the safety of the cast and crew and theatergoers,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told MarketWatch

This pandemic is hitting all live performance and having a real effect on people’s spirits. The LMC Dramatic Arts department has worked hard to keep up the spirits of students and faculty.

“The faculty has periodic check-ins through Zoom to connect students to their peers,” said Reyes. “The community that has been built continues to support each other through the pandemic.”

The program will have a new production this fall that is also COVID friendly. Look for information about it on the Dramatic Arts home page

The drama program has adapted to the pandemic at every step, yet is looking forward to so many things post pandemic, said Reyes. “Including dusting off our theater space and welcoming an audience once again.”