UTEP’s theatre department displays connectivity with ‘Love Song’

Isaiah Ramirez, Staff Reporter

UTEP Theatre and Dance Department’s Love Song brings a production that strives to connect everyone in times of negativity. The production was written by John Kolvenbach and directed by UTEP senior Sarah Curtis with a goal to display love in its purest form. It will be presented over Zoom from March 10- 13.  

The production is pre-recorded with the major themes of connecting, it focuses on how daily life can be mundane and how at times individuals may forget how to relate to one another. 12 students will be involved in the production with five mentors involved in the play. 

This production is the first student directed play as part of the regular UTEP Theatre and Dance season. “Love Song” is also the departments first full-length project since the pandemic started.  

Directing is what I love to do and I’m glad I’ve still had the opportunity to do it over a time like this,” Curtis said. “To me this play is all about connection and the transformation that it brings.” 

The show is based on the idea and hope that the global pandemic would have some improvement and a live audience would be able to view the show. 

“We were hoping the pandemic would be over by summer and by fall 2020 we could build on that idea of connectivity and coming together again but of course that did not happen,” UTEP lecturer and mentor of “Love Song” Rafa Perez said. “Even so, I feel that it’s something that has been a huge motivator for Sarah’s work as she has been directing the show. 

Directing a play brings upon all sorts of challenges and with adding social distancing policies in the mix can only add more obstacles within a production.  

“It has been really interesting navigating what theater can be in a virtual setting,” Perez said. “A lot of programs stopped doing theater alltogether, so they don’t have the opportunities that our students have to be able to communicate with the community.” 

Curtis said the production has found ways to still put on a show and adapt to the current circumstances and having to adapt throughout the production process to translate the play from something meant for the stage to something that can have its own life over Zoom.  

Toilet paper roll spotlights and backyard restaurants are just some of the ways we’ve had to be inventive since the production is all done at home,” Curtis said.  

The production was not allowed to practice in the theatre facility due to COVID-19 restrictions so the cast had to adapt to those circumstances. 

We have done a couple of rehearsals and it has that weird element where you can’t hear the audience gasp or laugh but, in this element, I feel the actors get the connect even more,” Perez said. “It has been really inspiring to see how Sarah works and how she takes my notes and tips and flies with them. 

Future events for the department include Lysistrata which according to Perez, will be the UTEP Theatre and Dance departments’ first attempt at a live production and will be played outdoors at the Fox Fine Arts atrium April 29 May 1.  

“Love Song” will air every day at 7:30 p.m. March 1013. The Zoom meeting identification number is 88188759032, and the passcode is LoveSong21. There is a sensitivity warning for the show due to the piece containing adult language and content 

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at prospector@utep.edu; @IsaiahRamirez1 on Twitter.