Simpson Productions hosts virtual double-bill opera


Photo provided by Jack Strub.

Tanner Striegel and Lindsay Richter rehearsing for the opera “A Hand of Bridge.”

by Jacob Keuhl, Staff Reporter

Over this last weekend, Simpson Productions hosted a comedic double bill “A Hand of Bridge” by Samuel Barber and “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti online.

“A Hand of Bridge” follows two couples who come together to play a game of bridge and delves into their inner thoughts and feelings. Although all the members are playing the same game they have different feelings and emotions that go from light-heartened and silly to thoughts that are more dark and serious.It features Lindsay Richter, Alexander Gray, Tanner Striegel and Miranda Young.

“The Telephone” is about a young couple, Ben and Lucy. Throughout the story, Ben is trying to propose to Lucy but keeps getting interrupted by numerous phone calls; featuring Micah Zimmerman and Ellie Brazeal.

The cast of both operas started live rehearsing in the middle of January, shortly after returning to campus from Winter Break, and they began filming in the middle of February. 

Although the cast had been rehearsing for the same amount of days as they normally would.

“We had a lot less time that we got together because everything that we did was typically over Zoom, or you know, we can only have this many people in a specific space at this time,” said Richter.

The production being virtual does have some benefits. 

“I know that I personally had a lot of family members that were thankfully able to see these productions because they were virtual, and they didn’t have to drive all the way down to Simpson to see it,” said Striegel.

Although safety regulations have changed the way the productions are performed and viewed Striegel is hopeful to be able to have a more normal fall. 

“There is something truly special about performing in the same room as an audience… and everyone having that same experience,” Striegel said.

With the incorporation of releasing shows virtually, this could change the future of how theatre productions are watched at Simpson. 

“I think that we could release things online, at the same time as maybe performing some stuff live, so that it will be available to more people,” said Richter.

Both performances had a combined run time of 30 minutes with “A Hand of Bridge” being 10 minutes in length and “The Telephone” being 20 minutes. On average, a single opera will last two and a half to three hours. 

The shortness of the operas allowed the casts to learn their lines faster and less stressful. “The fact that it was a shorter opera made it so much easier for people to memorize [lines] quickly and be able to work on our interactions with each other on stage,” said Richter.

The season for the next academic year was announced at the viewing party on Friday. The next production is the play “Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell opens Friday, March 26.