Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

SDSU Theatre Presents Pippin: A Journey to be Extraordinary

SDSU Theatre Presents Pippin: A Journey to be Extraordinary

Pippin (photos taken from practice rehearsal and flyer)

by Gabriela Romero

April 7, 2021

Directed and choreographed by Associate Professor Stephen Brotebeck and with musical direction by Head of Musical Theatre and Associate Professor, Robert Meffe, the School of Theatre, Television, and Film is ready to bring Pippin center stage.

Premiering May 4 through May 8, 2021, at 7 p.m. PDT, the production will stream as pre-recorded, scheduled content. Purchase tickets on the School of Theatre, Television, and Film website.

Unlike the 1970’s dark and sexualized look at what was originally a sweet and rather naive story, SDSU is moving Pippin to modern day.

“The conceit of our story is that a young man happens upon what he thinks is an empty theatre during COVID-19 times and finds that there is a company of actors led by a leading player who invites him to participate in their show,” says Meffe. “The story of Pippin is told, with the unwitting participant playing the role of Pippin. Each scene builds up to what the cast claims is ‘the big climax.”

The rehearsal process started in early March before any of the creative team and actors had received a single vaccine, so the cast learned all of the ensemble music via Zoom. From these rehearsals, the actors recorded individual vocals for Meffe to edit, which will be included in the final broadcast alongside the live recorded vocals.

As cast members received vaccines, they were able to participate in limited rehearsals, wearing masks, and following social distancing guidelines.

Brotebeck notes, “this show is normally done with a cast of 15 +, but we are doing the show with only eight actors who are playing multiple roles.”

The cast and designers have approached the rehearsal process with optimism. Scenic Director Jenni Baldwin says, “there are always roadblocks, but the absence of limitations is the enemy of art. Come showtime, our goal is to reach through the technology and connect in a very human way.”

“Viewers can expect a theatre experience,” says Meffe. “ The show is going to be filmed in one take, in a theatre, with theatrical sets, lighting, and costumes. It is not a movie! It’s a filmed theatrical production.”

Brotebeck says, “There are many intimate moments in Pippin, and we have had to create new ways of telling these stories. It has been a fun challenge working with the designers and cast to find solutions to many of these moments.”

Meffe says he is proud of “the incredible resilience shown by these eight extraordinary individuals dealing with the triumphs and setbacks of going to graduate school in the time of the pandemic.”

Tickets to Pippin run $10 - $15 and can be purchased on the School of Theatre, Television and Film website.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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