Looking Back

(sips tea) Ah, virtual kyôgen, what an interesting ride we have been on this last year. It is hard not to make this a reflection paper, seeing as I am writing this post production; however, I can’t help but think about this show in its entirety. As someone who has never done film, this was the first time that I have ever watched myself on opening night. At first it was a little nerve racking, as it had been quite some time since our recording tech week, and I hadn’t seen a final cut of anything until this moment, so although I knew roughly what everyone was doing, we did not see it all put together until this weekend, and boy was that a magical moment for me. I was so amazed by my fellow colleagues and their hard work that was clearly shown for this final curation of virtual kyōgen. In actuality, it was the first time I even saw my fellow martian actors Iana and Clayton in their roles, as I had to imagine them as my lamp and calendar during our rehearsals. It was truly quite a feat that it all came together so nicely! I am very happy that we played into the recording medium and pre-recorded everything because although we hope that there will be a return back to the old ways where live theatre means that we perform in real time, face to face with people laughing, crying, and pondering with us as actors, we would not have given this show justice with doing a “live zoom” show as there are still kinks in technology that we can’t solve. In all comedy, especially kyōgen, timing is everything, and I think we succeeded in conveying that to our home audiences. We see this in Masked Confusion, where personally, I hate passing things through the Zoom screen, but with correct timing, worked well with the props. We also see the importance of timing in MushZooms 2.0, where Cathy and Robert both had to time their puns and action to the mushroom pop ups (which is hard when you can’t even see or make eye contact with your fellow actor, much less post production mushrooms). Most importantly, Laura’s scene designs for each piece were *chef’s kiss* amazing—truly tying the connection between Japanese traditional painting to a new medium. Even my roommates, who are current graduate astrophysicists, wanted to know if they could get their hands on the Mars background from Earthbound! All I can hope is that our audiences at home enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed making it.

– Audrey Castañeda Walker, Earthbound & Art Interludes

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