Kentfield, CA—COVID-19 may have restricted the world’s ability to go to the movies, live concerts, and attend large parties, but thanks to the ingenuity of the Drama program at College of Marin (COM), the art of the theatre lives on.
This week, theatre lovers can partake in a virtual feast with a pair of dramatic performances from the COM Drama program. On April 8 at 7:30 p.m., the COM Drama program is releasing its recorded production of Arden of Faversham Ranch, COM’s reworking of an Elizabethan-era play into a dramedy set in 1980s Texas, and follows a woman and her lover who plot together to murder her inattentive husband. On April 9 at 7:30 p.m., the program will be releasing the dark-comedy, Hunting and Gathering, a play that looks at four young people living in New York who experience new friendships and romantic relationships in their search for stability.
Although Arden of Faversham Ranch can be streamed at any time through the month of April following its release, Hunting and Gathering has specific dates it can be viewed due to licensing requirements. Hunting and Gathering can be watched on the COM Performing Arts Department’s website on Fridays and Saturdays from April 9 to April 24 at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays from April 11 to April 25 at 2 p.m. Admission for both productions is free, and donations will be accepted.
Theatre patrons are encouraged to partake in both performances and enjoy a double-feature by watching Hunting and Gathering at the allowed times, and viewing Arden of Faversham Ranch either before or after.
While no theatre production is a small undertaking, dramatic performance in the COVID-19 era is an absolute labor of love. Instead of attempting a performance over web-conferencing software, students were given mini green screen studios, including cameras, lighting, and sound equipment provided by COM, to record their scenes at home. After students captured their scenes, they were layered onto a digital background. All in all, the editing and audio mixing process for their first production, Arden of Faversham Ranch, took six months to complete.
"I learned a lot from doing Faversham. This semester, I picked a modern show and fixed some of the challenges I had with Faversham, such as choosing a shorter play with a smaller cast, and making locations more abstract than realistic so the focus is more on character development,” said Dr. Lisa Morse, COM Drama program chair and director for both productions. “Hunting & Gathering is still very complex, going from apartment to apartment and place to place. But the more abstract locations and camera angles make it easier to edit and allow the focus to be on the performances rather than the scenery.”
With the lessons learned from Arden at Faversham Ranch, the COM Drama program was able to complete the post-production process for Hunting and Gathering in just three weeks.
Arden of Faversham Ranch will be available to stream 24/7 through the end of April.
Hunting and Gathering will be available Fridays and Saturdays, April 9 through April 24 at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, April 11 to April 25 at 2 p.m.
View the performances by going to the COM Performing Arts Department webpage.
Admission for both productions is free, and donations can be made to COM’s Drama program online or text COMDRAM to 41444.