After a long intermission filled with virtual performances and technical difficulties, the thrill of live theater returns as The Pocket Playhouse finally returns.
“I’m super excited to be back in person and doing things on stage, rather than just seeing [theater] in a little Zoom box, ”said Fausto Corral, co-chair of Pocket Playhouse. “I am really looking forward to putting this organization in a positive direction.
The Pocket Playhouse is a student-run organization and campus-based theater company that offers students of all disciplines the opportunity to act, produce or direct their own projects.
However, due to the previous switch to remote courses and events due to COVID-19, the club has lost its presence on campus and members are hoping that this year they can contact more students to get involved, Corral said.
For example, the club plans to host an actor showcase of student-led productions at the end of the term, open to all UO students. The council is also bringing back other weekly events such as Pancakes in the Pocket and Open Mic Nights for students to hang out and make new friends.
While this is a “small but powerful team,” said Jen Gerould, interim co-chair of Pocket Playhouse, the board is excited to jump in and establish an inclusive space for all students.
“I would like not only to do the things we are talking about, but also to advance the positive spirit that those who graduated have left us,” she said.
Gerould said she was also eager to provide students of all majors with opportunities to join the theater community, whether that be by reading plays or playing plays.
Other members such as Secretary Julianne Bodner and Liaison with Director Annie Craven said they were excited to collaborate with other students and bring the theater back to life.
“It’s incredibly refreshing to be able to have the space and the ability to produce plays again,” Craven said. “And it’s just wonderful to be sitting in a theater again doing what we love.”
Bodner also said that the Pocket Playhouse is a wonderful environment to meet like-minded theater people and hopes the organization will attract students to take advantage of these learning opportunities.
However, while the club has returned to hosting in-person events, that doesn’t mean concerns about COVID-19 aren’t hanging over their heads.
“All it takes is for a member of our classes to test positive and we all have to go home,” Gerould said. “I’m really afraid of this, and I try not to be afraid. But it’s a concern.”
As COVID-19 protocols change the way events unfold in the Pocket Playhouse, members follow safety guidelines by wearing their masks at all times, exiting the building when eating, and settling into the room. outside, weather permitting.
“It’s hard to navigate, but we’re all trying to get through it and make sure we make these events memorable and fun for everyone to enjoy,” Corral said.
Craven said she also wants to encourage fellow OU members to think for the greater good of the people and understand how their actions can prolong the pandemic and affect our community.
Nonetheless, the board continues to focus on expanding the club and promoting a tight-knit and diverse community.
For example, in his role as co-chair, Corral said he aims to make the club more accessible to people of color and to center multicultural excellence in theater.
“As a Latin man studying theater, it’s very rare to see people like me in these roles and positions,” he said. “So I am very happy to occupy this position in order to do so. “
Tech director Lexie Guzik also said she was excited to continue the tradition of having a female presentation tech director in the Pocket Playhouse, as “the tech field and the industry itself are very much dominated by men”.
Overall, there is no doubt that the pandemic has affected campus clubs like the Pocket Playhouse and robbed students of these creative opportunities.
But, as UO begins to reopen, soon the vibrant energy and collective excitement of theatergoers will fill their pockets, whether as an audience or as a club member.
“We’re all excited to be back… and hopefully people join the pocket,” said Corral. “We accept everything and everyone.”
The Pocket Playhouse meets on Fridays at 5 p.m. at the Salle Villard. For more information, visit their Instagram page @pocketplayhouse.