The Ohio Northern University Freed Center put on their first ever virtual live performance “Waiting For Lefty” from Thursday, October 1st to Saturday, October 3rd at 7:30pm because of COVID and social distancing guidelines. The audience had to buy tickets through the program ShowTix4U, it was $5 per student and $10 per device. The biggest benefit of having this show online was that there was no seating limit and unlimited tickets.
The performance was about the New York City cab driver’s union being on the verge of a strike while the corrupt boss Harry Fatt is doing everything he can to dishearten the men from taking their cause to the streets. The mysterious absence of their elected advocate Lefty Costello leaves the workers feeling worried. The director of this performance is Brian Sage and the stage manager is Emma Sherban. The cast consists of Harry Fatt (Garrett Fant), gunman (Tyler Cowdrey), Joe (Raymond Cronley), Edna (Rachel Rice), Miller (Hannah Enciso), Fayette (Samuel Heininger), Florenece (Ruthie Osowski), Irv (James Lancaster), Sid (Brendan Long), Clayton (Ethan Mann), a man (Hayden Edwards), Barnes (Kathryn McCarty), Benjamin (Danni Miller), and Agate Keller (Devin Sugerik).
In an interview with actress Rachel Rice, she states, “The faculty and students did as much as they could to make the performance feel as authentic as possible and not like a regular zoom call”. She said that the most challenging part was connecting to her scene partner and making it look like they were actually talking to each other. Rice states that performing virtually “really requires focus and connecting to the text rather than the physical aspects of a live show”.
In an interview with actor Garrett Fant, he states, “A huge part of acting for me is being able to interact with the other actors in many ways on the stage, which was very difficult to do when you’re the only one in the room”. He said that acting in front of a camera instead of an audience helped calm his nerves, but also proposed a new problem: thinking about how many people were watching him perform online. Fant wanted the ONU community to know that “It was definitely a unique experience, that’s for sure, but one that ultimately turned out really good. I think we were able to overcome the new challenges we came across with the digital format”.
There were changes made to the performance because of social distancing guidelines. The actors were displayed in individual screens with complementing backgrounds and title screens for scene changes. There was a dance scene between Joe (Raymond Cronley) and Enda (Rachel Rice) where they were in person with masks on. The play ended with the title screen in the middle and the actors surrounding it waving goodbye.