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The Theatre School brings stage production to the airwaves

Measure for Measure
Measure for Measure is one of 11 plays to be featured online by The Theatre School this quarter. (Image courtesy of The Theatre School_
When the entirety of the spring quarter was moved to remote instruction, many colleges and departments looked for ways to continue traditionally in-person events and programs online. Faculty, staff and students in The Theatre School were no different. After weeks of planning and close collaboration, the school has designed a platform to perform its spring stage productions for all members of the university community to enjoy.  

On Stage/Online is the school's new website, dedicated to sharing live TTS plays, many set to launch in May. Plays will be accessible through a live broadcast, podcast or an interactive web feature.

“Directors worked with their cast and creative team on each project," explains Lisa Portes, head of directing in The Theatre School. “Each imagined how they might transition their project from a stage performance to an interactive website, radio play or both. Those that chose to create radio plays collaborated with our sound design program at The Theatre School to create 21st century radio plays. Those that chose to create interactive websites worked with either student or guest website designers."

Throughout the spring quarter, On Stage/Online will host 11 plays. Five will be open to the public and six limited to only DePaul faculty, staff and students.

“It's a real interactive experience. It is very different from a traditional play," Portes says. “When you move from stage to broadcast, you can't completely replicate one platform to the next. I am impressed with the designers in each of these projects. Our artists are working at home and figuring out the steps they need to take to render this idea into a new space they aren't familiar with. It's been an interesting few weeks, and I am proud of what our teams have accomplished so far."

One of the plays set to hit On Stage/Online, “The Model Play," by Madie Doppelt and directed by Portes, is about five 16-year-old fashion models living in different cities.

Portes and her cast divided the work to create an interactive website, which consists of a map that allows audience members to navigate through the cities and apartments where the models live. In each city, a podcast with an episode will be included, along with the character's page, bios and suitcase.

“Beyond the logistics, this is a tremendous act of courage and creativity in the midst of this pandemic," Portes says. “Everyone involved - students, directors, actors, designers, dramaturgs and play wrights - came together to reinvent what theatre could be in this pandemic. How they can create community and tell stories when we cannot gather is invaluable and conveys the true meaning of theatre."

“The Model Play" will launch on May 22, and other productions are set to launch as early as April 28. To request access and tickets, and to view a list of spring productions, visit On Stage/Online.