Interning by itself is an experience. To intern remotely, in state two time-zones away changes it completely. This summer I interned virtually via Zoom with Professor Winters-Vogel as a dramaturg to develop Wabash’s fall production of The Race by Michael Rohd (alongside Sojourn Theatre). Throughout this process, alongside two other interns, we annotated the script, analyzed other forms of community and playback theater, and discussed its relevance during an election year and a pandemic.
The Race was originally developed for the 2008 presidential election where it invites guests to interact and respond to the cast much more than other live forms of theater. Actors lead small group discussions asking questions such as “What does leadership look like today?” amidst other topics. It openly discusses politics/current events in a theater setting. Given the current circumstances, this changes the live person venue to a live online one.
My fellow intern, Ace Dzurovcik, handled technology by utilizing the platform, Discord, for performances. My role was much more fluid where I would present my ideas and thoughts regarding The Race especially as I read articles about civic theater in the United States. I would often challenge my colleagues with questions about the direction we’re headed. “Are we preaching a message or are we facilitating a discussion?” Most civic theater performances offered questions and discussions regarding local issues. By the end of June, we set our direction to stay closely to the original script to create space for discussion.
Toward the end of my internship, I created the logo and marketing visuals for this production. These will be used for posters, promoting auditions, and the brochures for this show. It is inspired by Zoom, people’s various cultural backgrounds, and the classic patriotism of “Red, white, and blue” associated with American politics.
One of the most intriguing opportunities I had were Zoom meetings with Michael Rohd, the artistic director of Sojourn Theater, and other ensembles across the nation producing Sojourn Theatre’s The Race. There, we could discuss what it meant to produce theater in America, how to represent cultures equally, and the unique challenges each location brought. Wabash is an all men’s school which means we must reach out to women to be a part of this production.
Being that The Race has roots in civic theater, it is of utmost importance that we learn what the Wabash and Crawfordsville community wishes to discuss publicly. This is an opportunity for artists to listen to community members then assist discussing issues openly. Theater is merely another place for discussion to take place.