SDSU Theatre Tackles Virtual World Premiere

August 31, 2020

Over the past several months, theatre practitioners have found new ways to collaborate, learn, and create using virtual modalities. While performing through a computer isn’t the same as performing on stage, Dani Bedau, a professor in San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film, believes that virtual modalities can be used to create an environment that inspires meaningful dialogue and reflection among audience members that may not have occurred if they’d been sitting next to each other in a theatre.

This fall, Bedau will direct the first-ever performances of Two Lakes, Two Rivers by playwright Laura Jacqmin as part of the Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series. The play, opening for an 8 performance run on Thurs. Sept. 3, addresses the topic of sexual assault among young adults as it follows the story of a young man who dies in an accident after having non-consensual sex with his drunk girlfriend. The play explores what would have happened if the characters had made different choices and what roles the bystanders, perpetrator, and victim play in how things ultimately unfold.

In addition to the play itself, each performance of Two Lakes, Two Rivers will give audience members a chance to participate in a curated discussion to help them navigate the delicate subjects portrayed in the play. Bedau will collaborate with the School of Child and Family Development to create pre- and post-show discussion questions to guide the audience through a potentially difficult conversation. Students will then be encouraged to connect with campus resources, including the Women’s Resource Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, and SDSU Well-being and Health Promotion.

“This show has the potential to reach a bigger audience in a more intimate way and fuel honest and open discussion since the audience is in the familiar space of their homes,” Bedau said.

Even before SDSU President Adela de la Torre announced plans for a largely virtual Fall semester, Bedau had already decided that her production of Two Lakes, Two Rivers would be performed virtually. She saw it as a good opportunity to explore and experiment with performing this type of piece in a virtual space. The cast has already begun having virtual rehearsals that will continue through the summer.

“The whole industry has been wondering how do we do this, should we do this?” Bedau said. “It’s a blessing that we don’t get to ask if we should. We need to continue because students need to keep learning in a way that meets learning outcomes.”

Two Lakes, Two Rivers will open SDSU Theatre’s fall 2020 season and will begin its 8 show run on Sept. 3, 2020. Tickets are $5 and can purchased here. All ticket sales close 24 hours in advance of the performance in order to prepare for this unique, interactive performance.

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