While Georgia Tech is renowned for its engineering and technology programs, for 73 years, the university has had a student-run theater, DramaTech.
Host Lois Reitzes spoke with artistic director Melissa Foulger and actor/engineering student Austin Hughes on WABE’s “City Lights.” Their virtual play “Boom” runs through June 27.
The play follows two students — Jules, played by Hughes, and Jo — who go on a date just before a comet hits Earth, leaving them as the last two people on the planet. A third character, Barbara, appears as a God-like character who controls much of their lives.
Foulger says that while the main characters are younger, the play explores universal themes like navigating a crisis.
“The fact that they are trapped in a room together, they are trying to live through a cataclysmic event, these are things that speak to all of us,” said Foulger.
The production process has been entirely virtual from casting to rehearsals to performances.
“We were all in our own homes, and we would tune in to Zoom and practice initially with reading and then we started working on blocking and then adding components of tech. And next thing you know, we got a show,” Hughes said.
Each showing is live instead of taped in advance.
“It’s very scary sometimes,” said Foulger.
Hughes explains that not having audience feedback is a challenge. The actors can only hear each other over Zoom.
“It can be a little daunting when you’re not really sure how you’re doing,” said Hughes.
One of the goals Foulger had for creating the production entirely virtually was to share their experience with other theaters.
“Now that we’ve proven that it’s possible, the idea is that hopefully we can help other people to be able to do things like this and to give the feel of being in a theatrical experience even if you’re doing it virtually,” said Foulger.
As for their fall semester, DramaTech has plans to produce two shows virtually while continuing to reevaluate what’s possible as the pandemic continues.