During the fall of 2020, the University of Northern Colorado’s buildings were quiet as many students were confined to their homes due to the coronavirus. This semester, halls are filled with students on their way to classes, clubs and various activities.
For students of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance, this semester has meant the return to live performances, which were not possible for over a year.
The department has three major productions planned for the fall of 2021: “The Flick,” “Rent” and “Sweat.” Smaller student groups will also be putting on shows ranging from one-act plays to musicals.
“The Flick” will serve as the department’s first mainstage production of the year, as well as the school’s first normal show since the start of the pandemic.
Kenneth Womble, a professor of acting at UNC, has taken on the role of director for the show. Last year, Womble experienced the difficulties of trying to direct a show during the pandemic when he staged “The Book of Will.” Students in that production had to wear masks, stay socially distanced and film their final performance rather than have a live audience. In comparison, actors in “The Flick” no longer have to socially distance, creating opportunities that were unavailable during the pandemic.
“It’s been nice, that one on one contact. But with masks it’s still somewhat limiting, but I think the actors have overcome that really really nicely,” Womble said.
Though the actors still have to wear their masks, Angel Garcia, a senior acting major at UNC and member of the cast, says that they are thankful for the chance to create live theatre again.
“I feel so honored and blessed to be able to be the first theatrical production of the year,” Garcia said. “It could be a lot of people’s first time going to a live theatrical show in a while so I feel blessed to be able to do that.”
“The Flick” tells the story of three young adults who work in a rundown movie theatre. Over the course of the play, the struggles of the characters both at home and at work are revealed as the characters go through the motions of working at the movie theatre. Womble chose to produce “The Flick” because of the relatability of the show.
“I think it’s a story about expectations, it’s a story about bias, it’s a story about dashed hopes,” Womble said. “I mean, it’s a very well-written play, it won the Pulitzer prize, and I just think it’s very relatable to now.”
Much of the show’s relatability stems from the heavy subjects it discusses, which have become common. This subject matter includes racial discrimination, sexual assault and mental health struggles. Annabeth Lofton, a senior acting major at UNC and a member of the cast, says that the difficult content presented in “The Flick” is handled carefully.
“There’s a lot of like intense topics, so I would just prepare for that,” Lofton said. “But they’re approached in a very, like, easy way. Like, how I would probably talk to my friends about that is how we talk about it in the show.”
Womble says that though the play is a drama that handles heavy topics, the show is not entirely without comedic moments. He says he hopes that the relatable aspect of the show, as well as its high production value, will yield the show a large audience.
“I hope people will come and see this show,” Womble said. “I think the acting is tremendous. We have a gorgeous set. All the technical aspects are excellent.”
The Flick will be performed over the weekends of September 30 through October 2 and October 7 through October 9. Tickets for the performance can be purchased online at tickets.unco.edu.