USU technical artists to stage free shows this weekend

The Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan will host 'Introspection,' a free show illustrating the skills of USU theatrical light and design students at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

LOGAN – The Theatre Arts Department at Utah State University will launch its 2021-2022 season with an unusual free show on Friday and Saturday.

That show, dubbed Introspection, will be an opportunity of the department’s light and design students to demonstrate technical skills they have acquired over the past year, according to Richie Call, associate professor of acting.

Under the direction of Professor of Lighting and Scenic Design Bruce Duerden, Introspection will be presented Oct. 1 and 2 at the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan.

No tickets for the show are being sold, however. Anyone interested in recent developments in theater tech can simply show up on those evenings and claim a seat.

But Call warns that seating for Introspection will be limited. Due the recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections in northern Utah, every other row of seats in the Lyric Theatre will be blocked to provide social distancing.

Audience members are also being encouraged to wear face coverings.

Using a poem written by one of its designers as its source material, Introspection will highlight recent developments in theater technical skills, especially projection artistry.

The use of projected images to enhance on-stage performances is not a new concept. For example, USU technicians used projected images extensively in the university’s production of [Title of Show] in March of 2020.

[Title of Show] is known in theater circles as “that strange little musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical.”

With a tiny cast and no set requirements other than four chairs, [Title of Show] is an ideal vehicle for a collegiate theater program to highlight the talents of its students.

But Duerden successfully enhanced the playwrights’ stark vision of [Title of Show] by using projected images to illustrate the musical’s decade-old pop-culture quips and obscure theater history references.

Since that time, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has only increased the importance of alternative forms of theater tech to performing arts productions, according to Paul Mitri, the chairman of the USU Theatre Arts Department.

In an interview in spring of 2021, Mitri predicted that the skyrocketing cost of lumber would curtail construction of traditional set designs and make use of more economical technology a preferred alternative for stage artists.

That prediction certainly came true during the subsequent summer seasons of the Lyric Repertory Company and the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre.

Projection technology was used extensively in the Lyric’s 2021 productions, especially Mitri’s own drama Dreaming American and the experimental interACT [X2].

Projection techniques were also cleverly used in the UFOMT production of 33 Variations to illustrate particular passages of music in Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.

Curtain time will be 7:30 p.m. for the performances of Introspection on Friday and Saturday at the Caine Lyric Theatre on Center Street in downtown Logan.

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