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Scottsdale School Of Film+Theatre Unveils Two Pandemic-Shaped Productions

By Mark Brodie, Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 1:53pm
Updated: Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 3:50pm
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Students at the Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre are nearly ready to unveil two very large productions. With the pandemic pushing their creativity to new heights, the students have expanded what it means to perform.

"It's forced us into a way of looking at theater in particular, in a way that I think a lot of theater specialists hadn't done before," Don Williams said. "How can we be more integrated with the other mediums that are available for entertainment?"

Williams is head of Performance and Directing at Scottsdale Community College. He said the unprecedented times gave them an opportunity to explore the classic 1938 Orson Welles radio drama “War of the Worlds” and give it a 2021 update.

"We leaned into doing a radio-play version of 'War the Worlds,' but it got a little out of hand and went down a multimedia road," Williams said. "We've integrated podcast, film shoots, radio, theater, film and theater design, etc. to create what we hope will be a fun experience about being invaded by Martians."

In addition to the performance, the students are producing a parallel fiction podcast that explores otherworldly Arizona events.

The second production is a documentary theater piece called "2020...The Year That Was."

“When COVID hit, I was trying to figure out what we could do fully online and via Zoom, it dawned on me that the students were living the story, the story of the year. So they started journaling their feelings, interviewing various members of the community, from law enforcement to people on both sides of the various arguments of various topics to victims of COVID. They also started correlating tweets and news reports. What came out of that was a theater piece that chronicles the ups and downs of '2020...The Year That Was,'" Williams said.

Both performances will be available to stream online.

"2020...The Year That Was" debuts April 30, and "War of the Worlds" opens May 30.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District.

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