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Drew’s First Virtual Play Hits the “Stage”

Head video editor of Snapshot discusses the experience

September 2020 – The Drew University Theatre & Dance Department impressed audiences with a virtual performance of Snapshot.

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Sierra Williams And Sam Harvey Tune In For The Premiere
Sierra Williams C'22 and Sam Harvey C'22 tune in for the premiere.

Creativity and adaptability were on display throughout the play, from the makeshift at-home set designs, to the clever use of Zoom breakout rooms, Spotify playlists, and computer backgrounds. Each unique element used in the production reflected a theatrical flexibility from each member of the cast and crew. 

We spoke to Jessica Ruotolo C’21, the head video editor of Snapshot, about her experience finalizing the show’s technical elements.

How did this play compare to some of your previous “real life” theatre experiences?

The production was very different. We filmed the show a week in advance of the viewing of the final product. The team knew we had a lot of obstacles throughout the production, but everyone was willing to work together to create the best version of Snapshot we could. It was a remarkable experience and the cast/crew are the most amazing group of people I have ever worked with. I was just lucky enough to put all the puzzle pieces together to showcase the remarkable picture they created.

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Group Videocall In Snapshot
John Thatcher C'21, Loren Donnelly C'22, Seychelle Kulik C'21, Emily Rosales C'19 G'20, and Eli Hatcher C'24 act in Snapshot.

Were the opening night jitters still present?

I was terrified the night of the premiere because I was the last person to see the final product—no one else. I had to trust all the decisions I made and hope that everyone liked what I had done with their work. I am so glad they all liked it. I truly wanted it to do them all justice.

Did any unforeseen challenges arise on the technical side?

Whenever editing, I try to give myself twice the amount of time I think I need, because it will always take longer than I assume. This project was no different! I was editing until the evening before the premiere adding all the small details. Our sound designer Caleb Dean C’21 was incredible; he was the real lifesaver for all the technical issues we faced. One cast member had poor internet connection, but Caleb personally edited the affected video where there was a lot of lag present to make sure it perfectly matched with the video.

For more on the production, hear from the play’s student dramaturg and director.

Photos and story by Morgan Alley C’22

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