The theater department had its first fall performance of the play “No.6,” held virtually.
“No.6,” a play written by T.J. Young, tells the story of a Black family faced with an unexpected guest while riots rage outside their apartment.
Tommy Wedge, the director of the play, said the performance was pre-recorded because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We also let students submit video auditions,” he said. “Actually, I think half of the final cast had auditioned remotely.”
Trinity Caldwell, a theatre junior who played Felecia, said the cast always kept five feet apart and dyed the straps of their clear masks to match their hair and skin color.
“Our show was written to be very touch dependent,” Caldwell said. “There are a lot of hugs, forehead kisses and handshakes that we were unable to do.”
There were many other obstacles to putting on a show this year, including the lack of a place to perform.
“I feel very fortunate that the faculty found a way to do a show with everything going on,” said Jared Kaufman, a communications and theatre education junior.
In addition to his role as Kelly in “No.6,” Kaufman also has experience in acting and house managing for previous SVSU performances, such as “Roustabout” and “9 to 5.”
Kaufman said this play was produced differently compared to previous shows.
“Instead of building a set in the Malcom Field Theatre like they usually would do … they built the set in the scene shop,” he said.
A lighting rig was set up in the shop, allowing the department to film the scene much like a TV show, with three different camera angles.
Wedge said there was a blend of talent pools that came together to work around COVID-19.
He said the cast and faculty were especially up for the challenge this year because they felt strongly about the play’s message. They stressed that racial disparity and police brutality were very real issues in today’s politics.
Glecia Tatum, a theatre sophomore, played Ella. Tatum said her goal is to use theatre and the arts to help children develop healthy coping mechanisms and outlets for trauma.
“It was very important for me to give a voice to Ella,” she said. “I accepted the role of Ella because I wanted to give a voice to the Black mother.”
Tatum said she strived to channel the emotion she felt as a mother and woman of color into her role.
She said she wanted to illustrate the fear that Black Americans have in every moment and how they are scared that their children will not return home.
“I hope the audience listens to the message being said,” Caldwell said. “The story is set in 2001, but it’s still happening today. The same issues are still going on. But here we have the opportunity to see what happens behind closed doors and to see the perspectives of different people.”
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