After a full theater season last year with no audience due to COVID-19, PSU theater finally got to do a live show for the first time in almost two years.
“It was a great opportunity to have a live audience again. “It was nice we still got to do something last year, but we live for the live audience, we are not filmmakers,” said Linden Little, director.
For Michaela Henningsen, sophomore in communications education, this was her first production with PSU. She very excited about it, especially playing a lead.
“It was intimidating, but I really felt like I was meant to play Mama,” Henningsen said. “I connected to the character really well, and that helped calm my nerves.”
One unusual thing about the show was that they had a pretty young cast, mostly freshman and sophomores out on stage, with the upperclassmen backstage on the crew. Through that, many of the underclassmen stepped up and were great leaders, but the cast felt that they all overall were some good leaders.
“I feel like everyone was a leader at some point,” Henningsen said. “We are all very equal and we have all done something to contribute to others, and that’s what I love about it because we are all leaders and make for strong connections.”
One of the best parts the cast loved about having a live audience again was getting feedback from the community, and with the show being a comedy, getting a laugh at those funny moments was satisfying.
“We ended up getting a comment from someone in the audience, and they said they ‘laughed a little, they cried a little, and they squealed a little,” Little said.
Even with such a great production, practice makes perfect. The cast was able to do lots of ensemble training, helping them get better at being an ensemble and helping with connections between cast members. In addition to the training, the cast did lots of traditional rehearsing such as blocking, working with scripts, and taking lots of long rehearsals to put the whole thing together.
“Rehearsal was a lot like building a wall brick by brick; there’s certain pieces it takes to finish it and see the end,” Little said.
One of the great things in theater is the actors connecting to their character, and Henningsen felt that she really got to do that.
“When I got the script, I immediately knew I wanted to play Mama,” Henningsen said. “She has a bunch of kids in the show, and I grew up in a family with six children. I felt my family was very similar to the Lapin family and I felt I knew who she was because she reminded me of my mom.”
The whole cast is as well very proud of the shows they put on over the past weekend and were very pleased to be able to do performances with live audiences and be able to hear them laugh and see their smiles.
“It’s been so fun to meet people and get myself out there, and nice to get back to real entertainment,” Henningsen said.