Lake Erie College presents an original play reflecting the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On March 25-28, the Theatre Department at Lake Erie College will present an original play about life in America over the past year living with the coronavirus pandemic. Using real people’s own words as the basis for the script, this verbatim-style performance is titled “Stories from a Pandemic.” It is produced and directed by Professor of Theatre Dr. Jerry Jaffe, who during the years he lived in New Zealand produced, directed and taught this style of theatre. In addition to 4 live performances there will be a live stream version presented opening night, March 25.
According to Professor Jaffe, verbatim theatre uses both personal interviews as well as publicly presented statements found in the press and on-line to create a script based on people’s real comments about how the pandemic has affected them. The cast actively participates in collecting these statements as Jaffe crafts their work into a coherent piece of performance art. “Some of these stories are really tragic” Jaffe said, “and the effect of hearing them presented in this format is very moving.”
The rehearsals and the performances are being staged in accordance with both the State of Ohio’s issued statement “ReStartOhio-Performing Arts Theatre” and Lake Erie College’s Covid-19 protocols found in our “ReEnvision Plan.” Social distancing, mask wearing, and contract tracing are all part of the rehearsal process. The State at this time requires venues to cap attendance at 15% and so the live performances will have limited seating. Seated patrons are also required to maintain a minimum social distance of 12 feet whenever possible. Also in accordance with ReStartOhio this performance will not have an intermission. The run time is approximately 1 hour.
The ensemble for “Stories from a Pandemic” includes a combination of students, alum, and community actors. The cast includes students, Jeramie Burge, Kayla Clark, and Cameron Zona, LEC alum Jordan Renee Malin, and local actors Robert Haag and Vince Wilson. Wilson has appeared in other plays over the years at LEC including 2018’s Murder by Poe. Haag was originally cast in last year’s planned production of Endgame by Samuel Beckett that had to be canceled due to the coronavirus. Set and lights are by long-time collaborator LEC alum Julie Harter and the Stage Manage is Sayali Collins. March 25’s live stream is being produced by alum Matt Sucre. This live performance as well as the live stream will be presented at no charge, although the Theatre Department accepts donations.
Prof Jaffe explained that he had never brought a verbatim style performance to Lake Erie College and the situation with the pandemic warranted it. The show is also primarily monologues, so he was able to work with actors one-on-one and avoid meeting in groups as much as possible. This allowed for maximum social distancing. LEC Theatre Major Cameron Zona said, “This is completely different than any play I’ve ever done and the new approach is teaching me a lot about acting.”
Questions regarding Tales from a Pandemic theatre performance can be made by contacting Jerry Jaffe at 440.375.7451.