Every semester, Ferris theatre puts on a production to showcase the talent FSU has to offer, but this semester has the theatre looking a little different.
The Fall 2020 production is going to be a musical called Theory of Relativity, written by Brian Hill with music by Neil Bartram. The musical is going to display the different types of relationships that humans have with each other.
That makes this production so much different from the rest is the theatre won’t be performing it live. Actors will be doing their performances over Zoom while being recorded, and they will be edited together for one cohesive show.
Ferris professor Katherine LaPietra is the artistic director for the theatre and the overseer of projects. She has been a professor at Ferris for the past 20 years. She said that she works with an awesome team of well-trained people who help put on the show.
“We are ahead of the curve when people were asking to do things remotely,” LaPietra said. “We have had to rework our contract a couple of times. It is a fun show about college-age students, so that’s pretty cool, and those don’t happen very often.”
LaPietra said that this is the first time Ferris has ever done a show like this. She and her colleagues decided that they wanted to give it a shot. She picked out this show, specifically because of the minimalism of the show.
LaPietra said that the play would be streamed through Music Theatre International as they own the play’s rights to protect the show’s integrity and so it can’t be recorded or re-uploaded on other social media platforms. The musical will be free so that no one has to worry about wasting money due to potential technical issues.
Ferris does not offer a major or minor degree program in theatre, so the people who work on this production participate for their own enjoyment.
Typically, they have 80 to 100 people audition for a musical and 60 to 80 for non-musicals. For this production of Theory of Relativity, they had 45 people.
Ferris junior music and entertainment business major Nicole Hollinsky loves Ferris theatre and said that it is her home away from home. She is the community liaison for Ferris’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honors society, and runs social media for the theatre.
Hollinsky has been acting since she was five years old, holding roles such as Sophie in Mamma Mia! She says the show has been stressful, finding time to film and doing everything through Zoom.
“The virus affects everything when it comes to theatre,” said Hollinsky. “All of our rehearsals are through Zoom. We are also going to be filming ourselves, and it will be cut together to be streamed. It’s almost like filming a movie-musical.”
The said the downside to this is that they miss out on the social aspect of theatre, but they are all staying safe. It is not the simplest way to put on a show.
The date for the musical to debut is Nov. 19. Ferris State theatre encourages you to come and be a part of them and welcome you with open arms. They don’t care what your experience level is. For more information, you can follow them on Instagram @Ferrisstateuniversitytheatre or twitter @FSUTheater.