Theatre Department directing ‘It’s Greek to Me’

Courtesy Photo
UNI’s theatre department is collaborating with the Department of Communications and Media to produce “It’s Greek to Me,” scheduled for a November release.

LAUREN MCGUILL, Staff Writer

Last semester, UNI’s Theatre Department was practicing their performance of Antigone, one of Sophocle’s famous plays. Antigone was to be performed in the Fall 2020 semester. However, after COVID-19 sent students home, the theatre department realized the play would not be ready in time for next semester. UNI Theatre assistant professor Amy Osatinski, along with her students and other members of the department, began to brainstorm new ideas for their fall performance.

“As the summer progressed, we realized that is not going to happen,” said Osatinski. “We were not able to get the rights to the original production of Antigone we had planned. Then we explored the possibility of writing our own adaptation of Antigone, but really we just were not going to be able to get that ready in time. So we came to the idea, let’s spend some time looking about Greek theater, learning about Greek theater with the students who were in the cast and then having the students respond to Greek theater. So it transitioned from a live production to a digital production.”

The film, titled “It’s Greek to Me,” consists of two parts. Each student will perform a Greek piece of their choosing then perform a personal response to it. Some students chose to work together while others preferred to work on their own and perform monologues. Some even chose to perform a song.

With the switch to a digital production, the department now had to find a way to edit and film “It’s Greek to Me” on top of writing and performing it. The Theatre department decided to reach out to the Department of Communication and Media to see if they would be interested to collaborate with them on the production. Assistant Professor of Digital Media Philip Hopper and his students in his Advanced Digital Media Production Documentary class agreed and are not only filming the production, but are also working on a documentary which will air on the CFU cable channel at a future date which has yet to be determined. The film itself is planning to be released in Nov., but there is no set date. Tickets will be available to purchase through UNItix and will be streamed online.

Theatre students are ecstatic for the film to be released, but they also had a lot of adjusting to do while preparing to perform though a camera lens instead of live.

“I think there was a period of mourning,” said Osantiski. “It has been tough. One of the things students love about theatre is this idea of being together, performing a show together. There is a large social aspect to it, and it has been kind of missing. Our only times when we have all been together have been on Zoom. We started the process on Zoom, then we moved to socially-distanced masked rehearsals with only me and one or two students. Having a film crew with us makes it feel like we are shooting a big time movie, which is a great experience for those who want to go be actors when they are done with school.”

For more information on the film and other theater productions, visit Theatre UNI at Strayer-Wood on Facebook or contact Amy Osantiski at [email protected]