Virtual performance of “Hindsight” is a creative alternative to conventional theater

by Denali Herrick

Whitworth’s theater department premiered the university’s first entirely virtual production, “Hindsight”, both written and performed by Whitworth students, on Oct. 16. In this show, the cast created an expression of the different viewpoints and experiences that 2020 has brought to the world.  

Actress Brooke Disney, a first-year student, said that the whole show was completely made by the cast, and everyone was a part of the creative process. “So just the fact that every single person contributed something, and [that] it is a completely homemade brand-new show, it’s really cool,” she said. 

In true “Zoom University” fashion, everything about the production was held online, from rehearsals to the performance itself. The storyline followed characters who shared their experiences and perspectives of 2020 in a group therapy session over Zoom.

Since the play’s setting was a virtual call, the “stage” looked like an actual Zoom meeting with a live chat function and video/mute buttons. The show was fully live, so the actors had to physically turn their cameras on and off, mute or unmute themselves and write in the chat window during the show. 

The cast had to handle every aspect of their performance in their room. “It is definitely different, but it’s kind of nice because I don’t have to go anywhere. I just sit up and turn on my computer and go to rehearsal,” freshman actress Mira Wibel said. “The hardest part is figuring out all the technical aspects – figuring out how to get my Zoom right, adjusting audio levels, and stuff that I normally would not do.”    

For the first few weeks, the actors and actresses had individual Zoom meetings with the directors, stage manager and other cast members, said Wibel. The week before the performance, the whole cast joined together virtually for tech week, where they ran the entire show every night. 

“I think one of the fun parts about what we are doing is that we are really teaching real-time artistry, and that is responsive to whatever moment you find yourself in,” director Andrew Christensen said. 

Another unique aspect of the show is the way in which it was written and designed. Each cast member created their own character; they came up with their character’s name, personality and look. Assistant director Rowenna Nelson said the cast arranged interviews and created characters based on the people they talked to. 

Twenty-sevent different characters feature in “Hindsight.” One character tested positive for COVID-19 and later recovered, and another lost their 9-year-old sister to the virus. The events of 2020 impacted many other characters as they lost jobs, fought with friends over different beliefs or just felt overwhelmed and lonely from being unable to connect with others in-person.  

“There is no way for the actors to know what the audience thinks because there is no applause,” Christensen said. If you saw this production, he suggests letting the cast know if you enjoyed the show.  

“Hindsight” will continue showing from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.