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Brandeis Theater Arts program revives live performances

The Brandeis Theater Arts department and the Undergraduate Theater Collective revive live-theater productions for the 2021-2022 academic year. Recently, students took the stage with the annual Brandeis tradition of the 24-Hour Musical. This year’s musical was “Camp Rock,” featuring more than 100 cast and crew members and lead performances from Laya Fridman ’25, Sam Newman ’23, Diego Robles ’24 and Nico Miller ’24. 


Now, the Theater Arts announce the upcoming production of “In The Empty,” directed by Brandeis alumni Sheila Bandyopadhyay ’99. Taking place outdoors on a custom-made stage, “In The Empty” tells a story inspired by the “resiliency and the power of the natural world,” reads the Theater Arts website. The Brandeis community can watch the production on Oct. 1, 2 and 3 in the outdoor stage that will be built next to Spingold Theater. 


Bandyopadhyay is an independent theater artist based in New York City. She specializes in movement theater, or an emphasis on storytelling through physical actions, and has an extensive background in non-traditional theater performances, novel adaptations of classic works, music and ensemble-driven works, and Shakespearean productions. Theater Arts Chair Dmitri Troyanovsky shares “We’re thrilled to welcome back Sheila. She brings her signature movement aesthetic, a heightened sense of the theatrical, and a profound connection to the tradition of dance theater at Brandeis,” on the Theater Arts website.


Omer Barash ‘25, a first-year actor performing in “In The Empty,” comments on the message of the play and his experience being a part of the team. To Barash, the piece concerns “a metaphor brought to life of an individual’s internal journey through the unknown. It is about learning to find meaning in the journey, comfort in the uncertainty, and wholeness in the empty,” he writes in an email to The Hoot. 


The production was developed and rehearsed over a one month period, according to Barash. Due to the short timeline of production, the piece posed a rewarding challenge to Barash, as he had to learn the material quickly. Additionally, the uncertainty and spontaneity of the production mirrored the creative process for Barash, and was therefore informative to him, he explains.


As Barash puts it, the most unique aspect of the production was the level of collaboration that was necessary for the project to be successful. He writes about the experimental aspect of the writing process, which took the actor’s artistic opinions into account. Additionally, the culmination of this piece includes different forms of art: monologues, poetry, choreography and instrumentation were some of the many components of the project. 


To ensure the health and safety of all cast and crew members, everyone had to have a green passport and be fully vaccinated, Barash recalls. Now back to full-capacity, the Theater Arts department has a running list of live performances that students and other members of the Brandeis community can attend this year. 


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