Theatre, Television departments team up with ‘Fefu and Her Friends’

By Marisa Sobotka, Campus Reporter

Esther Bell
Columbia’s Theatre and Television departments have collaborated to bring “Fefu and Her Friends” to the stage and provide an April 28 live stream for students to view.

In collaboration with the Television Department, the Theatre Department will debut its first live stream performance April 28 as part of one of its upcoming shows, “Fefu and Her Friends.”

The show will run April 19-29 at Studio 404 in  the Theatre Center, 72 E. 11th St.  The live stream can be viewed at Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. 

The 1977 play, written by Maria Irene Fornes will include an original score composed by Music Department students.

According to Brian Shaw, the show’s director and professor in the Theatre Department, “Fefu and Her Friends” follows the lives of eight women during the 1930s. He added that the show is interactive and will include “complex, private lives that are reckless, erotic and filled with self-doubt.”

Senior theatre major Katheryn Pucillo, who plays the role of Fefu, said the play focuses on women navigating life while facing oppression from outside forces. 

“It shows not only the trials women have had to go through in history up until now, but also showing that at the end of day, we are just craving acceptance, but it is not always easily obtained,” Pucillo said.

A course within the Television Department—“Production: Special Projects Live Theatre,” which Shaw teaches alongside Brady Hyde, an adjunct professor in the Television Department—enrolls theatre and television majors who collaborate on various projects. 

For this show, the 14 television students enrolled in the course will be filming the production as well as live streaming for students to view. 

Hyde said he and Shaw were discussing the recent trend of live performances on NBC and Fox including “Grease Live” and “The Sound of Music.” These performances were filmed on multiple stages and use the combination of theater and television elements to bring the story to an audience of millions. 

“The live stream is supposed to be like watching it there on site,” Hyde said. “The cool thing is the Television Department can be on stage [because] they are performing and control what the viewer sees; it is going to give it a much more intimate feel.”

Pucillo added that the collaboration between the two departments taught her a lot about how the process of filming for television compares with acting in a live setting. 

“It is a great opportunity for actors to get a taste of both [experiences] and how it shifts but is similar,” Pucillo said. “When they go out post-graduation, they will be more aware and prepared for whatever might be thrown at them.” 

Shaw said the live stream will not only grow their audience because of Film Row Cinema’s larger capacity but will also provide a “crucial” understanding for performers and crew members about the differences between live and on-camera performances. 

Pucillo added that students and faculty at the college can benefit from department collaborations on projects such as this one. 

“It could lead to a more overall excelling of the arts with our school and lead to some great opportunities that haven’t been thought of yet,” Pucillo said.