Performed, streamed and recorded the weekend of March 27, Bellarmine University Theatre Company’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a story of female empowerment and independence set in a seemingly idyllic 1950s home. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the set needed to be constructed in such a way that actors would remain six feet apart during moments where the characters are sitting, the directed needed to keep social distancing in mind as they blocked and positioned the actors, and the play needed to be streamed online as a live in-person audience could not be brought into the confined space of Bellarmine’s Black Box Theatre.
For some, these constraints and bizarre work conditions might make the rehearsal and performance process difficult, but this was not the case for Bellarmine University Theatre Company’s actors and crew. This group of young professionals took these restrictions in stride, never once complaining, and came together to produce a piece of theatrical art that was funny, tragic, and powered by love for the craft.
Bellarmine’s production of A Doll’s House marked a personal and professional milestone for several members of its cast and crew. For first-year student Mason Scott, acting in A Doll’s House was not just his first time performing in a university theatre production, but starring in one as well. For senior Stacia Schaum, the play marked her first time starring in a production at Bellarmine, as well as her first acting performance in three years. For several members of the crew, it was their first time operating cameras and recording equipment, rather than working backstage and managing props.
Suffice to say, this play was a special and unique labor of love to almost everyone involved in its production; a strong and passionate conclusion to an undoubtedly strange season of theatre.
This was certainly the case for Bellarmine senior Sarah Basham, a passionate and talented young woman with Down Syndrome, or IDD. Throughout the production, Sarah functioned as the heart and soul of the play’s cast and crew, bringing a chipper enthusiasm and sense of fun to every rehearsal and performance night. Aiding Sarah through the production process was her mother, Jan Basham ’86, who acted as Sarah’s rehearsal assistant, helping her remember lines and memorize cues. Director Megan Burnett said that Sarah, “Brought a fun sense of humor, a dedicated work ethic, and a level of professionalism to all of our rehearsals and now performances.”
Recorded versions of Bellarmine Theatre Company’s production of A Doll’s House are available to view online through April 4th. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for general admission, and $25 for a group streaming pass. Tickets are available on eventbrite.