This semester, students in Kevin Clowes’ Theatre Crafts lab class have been working away, with masks and social distancing. They built and honed their skills as they constructed a set perfect for a pandemic monologue and familial drama. This is one of the few in-person classes taught on-campus this fall due to COVID-19.
The details and craftsmanship were not lost on me. My inner high school musical props girl was singing as I recalled my own backstage moments. My current COVID-state-of-mind appreciated the students’ fleeting work. Because you strike a stage. That’s how it goes. They will learn.
The deceitfully compact set features a kitchen, family room, landing areas and four entryways for which an actor will never enter. There are many details like crown molding, wainscoting and windows painted to look real. Playing cards and half-a-pint of beer are positioned on the coffee table with the family dog nearby on the couch. It all felt real, and the dog made me laugh. Since hunkering down at home for the last eight months, my 110-pound Golden Retriever has full reign of couch life and we are all happier for the big puppy cuddle.
There is no script, but somehow this dog, beer and cards invoked melancholy and made me chuckle. I found myself grateful for the artists who built this stage. They crafted a story, albeit a quiet one. I’m proud of them like I am of all Fullerton College students who own a piece of my heart, and I grieve for the extroverted theatre students who may be struggling with the isolation of a pandemic. They would have loved this stage.
We are all taking this one day at a time, quietly, yet somehow together. We are #HornetsTogetherApart.
Photos by Linda Briney
Lisa McPheron is the director of campus communications at Fullerton College.