Acting up in acting class

Whether they are taking the courses for their major or for fun, students in acting classes had to go from practicing in rooms full of mirrors to their bedrooms.

Lori Lee Wallace, associate professor of theater, is teaching Acting 1, 2 and Voice Movement this semester and has had to adjust her classes for online learning. 

“The adaptations vary from class to class, but overall, my goal was to replace all major classroom laboratory assignments with practical activities that can be done from home,” Wallace said. “Students in all three classes are used to having a massive studio space where they can move about and experiment. Now, students only have a small space in their bedrooms for activities, so everything needed to be reimagined.”

Wallace has had to change her classes around and remove assignments that would not be possible away from campus. She has been able to replace those projects with something else that can work for students living at home. Online learning has allowed Wallace to fit projects into the schedule that she would not have been able to fit in before. 

“Students are learning how to light themselves, how to film themselves, which way to use the camera on their phones (always horizontal for auditions), what material to use as a backdrop, what to wear, how to do a slate (their introduction), where to look, how long it needs to be and things to avoid,” Wallace said. 

Connor Nugent, a freshman communications major, is taking one of Wallace’s acting classes this semester. Just as he had gotten used to how college worked, it all changed. However, he has been adjusting well. 

“For acting, it was great to be able to be in the room to watch someone perform a monologue or do some improvisation,” Nugent said. “Getting that eye contact really helped me understand. But now with online classes, I’ve had to learn how to act to a camera, which in its ways are beneficial.”

Nugent believes Wallace has been doing very well with the adjustment to online learning and said she has been very understanding with her students during this time. 

“Now that the classes are online, they are going well, all things considered. We are healthy, we are safe and we have each other,” Wallace said.

 The entire experience has brought us closer and pushed us to make new discoveries as artists. New ideas have been developed that would have never come to fruition had we not been in this situation. Magical things are happening every day, you just have to know where to look. Art always seems to find a way.”