By Alyssa Fant
In the first week of March, the Amarillo College Theatre put on the play “Dracula” via virtual streaming. Because of the limitations put in place by COVID, the theatre had to get creative with how they were putting on plays. Because of this, there was very little to actually look at since the actors couldn’t act with each other, however, this gave birth to practical sound effects being used to emulate a real radio play from the ‘30s, all of which you could watch being done. The practical sound effects are the most creative and interesting thing I’ve seen being done on a school play. It shows how the theatre department is able to work with what they have left due to the pandemic in order to put on a show that is enjoyable for everyone.
Dracula was a radio play, which means it could just be listened to as if it were playing on the radio. The play had the appearance of a Zoom call, with each actor having their own camera to maintain social distancing. It is staged like a radio play being recorded, allowing viewers to see the actors simultaneously on the screen in their individual recording booths. The actual events of the play were left to the imagination.
One of the most interesting things about the play was the sound effects that were used. You could actually see the metal sheet getting hit to reproduce the sound of thunder or the chamber that was turned to create the sound of rain. This is similar to how performances were actually put on the radio and how the sound effects were actually created in the 1930s.
Each of the actors did an amazing job in the play. The main thing was the voice acting since it was a radio play. Each actor needed precise, clear enunciation in order to be perfectly understood during the stream. They were all good at emphasizing the louder and quieter moments, especially when it comes to laughing, crying and screaming. It all sounded amazing. They each did some acting with their face too, just to give the audience something more to look at. Only their face was seen, so their hair and makeup were done, but very little in the way of costuming.
Because the performance was streamed, the internet would occasionally cut out and I would miss a few seconds. There were also some technical difficulties on the theatre’s end, like the camera freezing on one of the actor’s faces, but nothing that was so bad I couldn’t watch it anymore.
While watching the play, I noticed only 19 other people on the live stream. I don’t think enough people are aware of the play and more people should be watching the next one. These performances will definitely be worth your time.