Actress shares her feelings on returning to in-person performances


Photo courtesy of Jason Heil and CSUSM Theatre Arts

Alyssa Tibador shares her excitement to return to the stage.

Richard Carpenter, Staff Writer

As we know, the pandemic created a lot of difficulties through this past year. The theatre industry faced having to take traditional in-person performances to an online medium thus removing the performer from the stage. As restrictions are lifted, CSUSM’s Theatre Department is able to return to the stage once again.  Alyssa Tibador, who plays the lead character in “The Hatmaker’s Wife” shared her experiences and emotions of returning back to the stage after resorting to online performances last year.

In preparation for the performance were there any precautions or protocols the cast needed to take? 

The first week we were doing our first rehearsals and intro to the production on Zoom. The second week the director,the stage manager and the cast were allowed to practice in the Black Box Theater, where we were all wearing masks and being very careful. Keeping our masks on for every practice until we got word from the campus that cast members wouldn’t need to wear masks on while performing.

There wasn’t really a problem with any of that. We were all wearing masks for so long. It was just nice because there were small issues with projecting. It was just exciting not having to wear them while performing. Plus the whole cast is fully vaccinated.

As a performer, was there anything that you needed to adjust with your character creation or building your character?

It’s been like two years since we performed and that already was so much. But with everything going on, starting the rehearsals with everyone’s mask on and not being able to see everyone’s faces, while trying to express yourself  was a little  hard. Particularly with the director asking for you to project yourself, it was definitely a hard start.

There were also moments of intimacy in the production and trying to accomplish those with the mask was hard. But with approached my character with a mask because breathing at times was difficult. But overall my character was pretty normal.

Usually when performing on stage the cast takes cues from the audience,without having to distance and working with protocols. Was there any difficulty or disconnect there? 

I think with this one, in particular, because it’s a comedy it really works off of audience interaction we would have to pause for laughter and such. Leading up to the performances we didn’t have anyone else in our rehearsal space. Leading up to the performances we didn’t have anybody else in our rehearsal space besides the people involved. But having somebody laugh was a weird change when we finally got to the performances.

I don’t think that having masks hindered anybody else from laughing. We also can’t see the audience very well with the lights on, but we could hear them so that was actually a really nice feeling to be like “oh, that was funny?,” because you say those lines so many times you just forget. I mean my character in particular wasn’t very funny but I almost laughed and almost broke character just hearing other people laugh.

Was there anything particular that made this production special either with working with restrictions or within your own personal practices that you’ve been able to gain experience from this particular production versus previous productions 

I think performing for the first time in two years made it super special and I think having the cast members,the stage manager and all the crew made it something really great. Of course, we followed mandates to support that but we still got to know each other and became friends.  That usually happens within productions but there’s something very different about this production.

I think because we’re all just ready to perform we were already to do theater. We’ve done online productions but those just aren’t the same. It was just very exciting to do a live production.