LOGAN – The Fusion Theatre Project at Utah State University is poised to debut a production that is definitely “not just another (expletive deleted) ZOOM play,” according to Theatre Arts professor Richie Call.
“Faced with the unique challenge of creating art in this time of COVID,” explains project spokesperson Anne-Marie Kate, “we spent the past year devising nine short plays that will be presented as a single green screen film, entitled ‘Re(FUSE).’
“The 14 (faculty and student) artists involved in this year’s project have collaborated in devising, writing, filming, animating, editing, producing and performing in all nine plays.”
“Re(FUSE)” will debut online at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 22. Encore presentations of the film are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24.
The public is invited to view any of those screenings, but the Theatre Arts Department warns that “Re(FUSE)” contains mature themes including “sexuality, frequent strong language, abuse, death and mental illness.”
The Fusion Theatre Project was founded in 2005 by USU professor Shawn Fisher to allow USU students and faculty members to focus on creating original theatrical works through an intense group development process.
Under normal circumstances, students would audition for the project a year in advance. The selected students would then work with Fisher to research a topic of current social relevance, write a script, develop characters and perform the play.
“In a nutshell, “ Ms. Kate emphasizes, “the Fusion Theatre Project … is a way for artists across all theater disciplines – design, tech, acting and education – to come together to explore diverse topics, artistic styles, characters, themes and relevant social issues.”
The Fusion project performances would normally take place in the intimate Black Box Theatre on the USU campus, but the university’s ongoing coronavirus precautions made planning for a live production problematic this year.
Rather than accepting the artistic straitjacket of attempting to perform via ZOOM technology, Ms. Kate said the project participants agreed to transfer their creative efforts to the more flexible medium of film.
The nine plays that will be included in “Re(FUSE)” are “15 to Life” by Gary Kemp; “Noise” by Hannah Whorton; “Knock” by Megan Codling; “Don’t Tell Anyone” by Kaija Strong; “Judgement” by James Wakeland; “Little Bird” by Anne-Marie Kate; “Whispered” by Jess Wallace; “Exodus 20:14” by Sera Shearer; and “Third Wave” by Aubrey Felty.
In addition to those nine student playwrights, participants in the 2021 Fusion Theatre Project are faculty members Richie Call and Shawn Fisher and students Hanna Speer, Joe Bayless and Jake Hansen.
“It’s truly going to be a great production,” Ms. Kate predicts.
The public can access “Re(FUSE)” via the USU Theatre Arts Department website at https://theatre.usu.edu