UIS Theatre Cancels Spring Performances of Twelfth Night

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Photographs courtesy of UIS Theatre

The UIS Theatre was set to open their performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night beginning Friday, April 24 and continuing through this coming weekend. Unfortunately, with the spread of COVID-19 and the eventual campus shutdown, the play was cancelled for the safety of its cast, crew and beloved audience members. 

As an actor cast in the show, I was extremely disappointed to hear the final decision was that we would not be able to continue rehearsals and that our performance day would never come. We were informed of this decision on March 13, and our date to be “off book,” (for actors to have their lines memorized) was the following Sunday, March 15. The off book date is very important for a show, because it marks a shifting within rehearsals where actors can really work with the language of the text and make specific choices for their characters, the scripts finally out of their hands. We were essentially beginning to really get into the heart of the show, to work on making the characters and scenes come alive. 

We also had yet to work inside the actual performance space for our production, the Studio Theatre in the lower level of PAC. During the beginning stages of rehearsals, we practiced in the Visual and Performing Arts building. Once we got closer to the performance dates, we shifted over to the Studio Theatre as sets, props and costumes began to come in. Being unable to make that shift was very frustrating for our cast and crew because we were so close to seeing the show as a reality. However, it was cut short right before we were able to really do our most important work regarding the other essential aspects of the show. 

While participating in UIS Theatre is a rewarding and fun experience, it is also a huge time commitment requiring a level of discipline for those who are involved. Rehearsals lasted for at least three hours per night and, as we got closer to our performance date, we were working five nights a week on top of campus jobs, night classes and any other commitments. Being unable to see our hard work physicalized into the production itself was very defeating on top of the fact that we didn’t know our last rehearsal would be the last time we saw each other for a while. 

Despite all of the stress and hardship that has resulted from COVID-19, members of UIS Theatre still remain positive and have a lot to look forward to for the next academic year. Even though the cast and crew of Twelfth Night will not grace the stage this semester, rest assured that the show will indeed go on and is set for Spring 2021.