There could be one of you; there could be hundreds of you,” actor Antonio Mitchell says to an unseen audience toward the beginning of So Far So Good, presented by the UW School of Drama in October. With that line, Mitchell acknowledges the strange landscape that he and other students in the performing arts have been navigating during the pandemic.
So Far So Good was presented live, online, which was a first for everyone involved. Eleven actors — all graduate students in the UW's Professional Actor Training Program — performed from their homes, with a team of technical staff coordinating feeds from all those locations. To complicate matters, the show’s director, Libby King, had just joined the School of Drama as an assistant professor a month earlier.
“I was nervous,” admits King. “This first time I met all the students, it was over this weird technology in this strange moment.”
Fortunately, King came to the UW with extensive experience creating theater that pushes boundaries. She spent years as a member of The TEAM, an acclaimed New York theater company that creates “devised” productions — shows developed collaboratively by those involved rather than built around an existing script. King describes devised theater as “a very intentional choice to create a space that gives equal voice to each person in the room.”