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Eckerd College Theatre premieres first indoor production since 2019

Published October 26, 2021
Categories: Academics, Theatre

The newest production by the Theatre discipline has a cast of only six actors but more than 40 backstage crew members. Photo: Steven Le

Zoe Smith’s turn as Heather McNamara in the spring production of Heathers: The Musical put her front and center—the place where actors thrive.

This week, she’ll try her hand at behind the scenes working as a costumer for The Moors, Eckerd College’s first indoor production since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coming from an actor’s perspective, I’ve never been able to see what goes on behind the scenes,” says Zoe, a sophomore theatre student from Palmetto, Florida. “I’ve been able to see how much work it takes to put all of these pretty costumes on the stage. It has been so fun and really rewarding.”

The Moors, by Jen Silverman, opens with two sisters living on the bleak and isolated moors of 19th-century England. They dream of love and power, wishing desperately to be seen. The arrival of a new governess upsets the balance of this eerie manor, resulting in a darkly comedic, fascinating play about the unravelling of a relationship. The Moors is the newest production by the Theatre discipline at Eckerd College. It is directed by Professor of Theatre Cynthia Totten, Ph.D., and has a small cast of only six actors: Anna Fraser ’23, Olivia Rubrum ’24, Kada Switzer ’25, Jaylie Barnes ’24, Cooper Hoeksema ’25 and Mia Knapp ’22.

Calling The Moors a small production, however, couldn’t be further from the truth—there currently are more than 40 backstage crew members contributing to this clever play. Many in the crew (over half, in fact) are Eckerd students participating in a class called Theatre Production, taught by set designer and Professor of Theatre Jessica Thonen.

This class is made up of 25 students who have been divided into various subsections of theatre production: lighting, set design, props and costuming. Zoe is one of those students. But the crew isn’t filled with only classmates. AC Pauker ’21 came back to be the costume designer for The Moors, teaching students like Zoe how to sew on a professional-grade machine, complete fittings and make full costumes. Rick Tetrault, Eckerd’s technical theatre coordinator, is doing lighting design for the production and supervising students.

This class, and in fact the production itself, has been teaching students the inner workings of a theatrical production—giving them more from their Eckerd experience.

The Moors will play at the Bininger Center for Performing Arts October 27–30, with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. (2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30). Tickets are free for Eckerd students.