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  • Jacob Hensley

Live theatre returns to CCU

Coastal Carolina University’s theatre department is producing live performances this semester for the first time since the pandemic.

The first show of the season is Honk! Monica Bell, associate professor of theatre at CU, is directing the piece. The assistant director is Aiden Fletcher, a senior physical theatre student, and the stage manager is student Storm Mattos. Honk! runs in Wheelwright auditorium Oct. 14 – 23.

Bell has been a professor at CCU since 2007. She said the theatre department picked this as the first show of the season for its messages of inclusion, transformation, self-love and self-acceptance. It is a story of growth and acceptance.

“We thought, wow, what a beautiful story,” Bell said. “I know that the theme can sound harsh, but there’s a lot of joy in it. And there’s a lot of poking fun at you know, at the small-mindedness of the ducklings.”

Bell said that because of COVID the performers must be masked, but it was an easy situation to deal with because all the characters in the show are animals. This also means that the actors must rely on their bodies to tell the story.

“It has allowed us to fulfill the design aesthetic and allow live performance and keep everybody safe while doing so,” Bell said. “It [the masks] actually guided them into some bolder physical choices because they couldn’t rely on their face for expression.”

Bell said this theatre piece is normally a theatre for younger audiences piece (TYA), and that it is wonderful to allow students a greater sense of play in their performance. Bell said performances meant for younger audiences are a great training tool for young artists in theatre.

Bell said Fletcher has played a large part in enlivening the physical aspects of the performance, and that she has relied heavily on her student assistants in putting this show together. Bell said this piece was necessary.

“The need for this piece was so great,” Bell said. “It really was always a joyous experience no matter what was going on in the department. The rehearsals were a place to go to create art and be creative spirits in collaboration.”

Bell believes students in the department are finding the power of expression in the theatre. She said students are finding ways for their political voices to be heard and for social issues to be examined.

“Amid the pandemic having denied our voices for so long, I think it’s actually ignited our students to enter more profoundly into production and to the art of theatre,” Bell said.

Play Schedule 2021-2022

  • “Everybody:” Nov. 4 – 14, 2021, in the Edwards Blackbox

  • “How I Learned to Drive:” Jan. 28 – 29, 2022, in the Edwards Blackbox

  • “Crazy For You:” Feb. 17 – 27, 2022, in the Wheelwright Auditorium

  • “Beckett and Durang One Acts:” March 31 – April 9, 2022, in the Edwards Blackbox

Inclusive Theatre Group and The Lighthouse Project will both produce a show at the end of the spring semester.

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