BRYAN, TX — The pandemic pushed pause on fun events like plays, but in true entertainment fashion- the shows must go on.
One local non-profit is bringing live performances back to life.
With a few rows of chairs and a small stage, StageCenter Community Theatre in Downtown Bryan provides an intimate experience for audience members.
"When you come here, it's not like going to the movies. You actually feel like you are on stage," Cindy Roberts, board director of StageCenter Community Theatre said.
Creating a challenge for a safe return to shows and performances during the pandemic. But thanks to a 1200-dollar investment, the volunteer-run non-profit installed the perfect solution: plexiglass separating the actors from spectators.
The board director was a little bit nervous about what a show would look like with these plexiglasses up, but when the stage lights came on, the audience disappeared-enhancing the experience.
"They see the reflection of themselves, so I think the audience is getting a better performance because the actors aren't nervous that they're going to mess up in front of their friends," Roberts said.
The deception comes as a blessing and a curse for cast members.
"Sometimes it can be hard. Not when you're looking into the distance on the stage, watching tumbleweeds in your mind blow-by, not getting caught in the trap of looking at the trap, just looking at the reflection in the plexiglass, kind of feels like we are performing in a fish tank," Silas Moore, an actor said.
It also elevates the experience for viewers to the next level.
"When you are in the audience, you are thinking, 'Oh no, this is going to be a terrible show. Once the audience lights are down, and the stage lights come up, this glass just melts away- for the audience," Roberts said.
StageCenter continues to require masks in the crowd and currently operates at 75% capacity.
"With the plexiglass as well, we rehearsed as a cast in masks and when it came time, a few days before we opened, we were able to take off our masks and of course the precautions are taken," Moore said.
StageCenter puts on shows every other month and is going through its fourth show with the Plexiglass up- performing The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch.
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