Moorpark College cancels spring slate of Performing Arts Center events

The+Performing+Arts+building+remains+empty+and+locked+immediately+after+campus+closure+on+Tuesday%2C+March+17.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt

The Performing Arts building remains empty and locked immediately after campus closure on Tuesday, March 17. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Lauren Bender

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of Moorpark College’s arts and entertainment performances have been cancelled for the spring 2020 semester. Some of the cancelled performances include the forensics team’s “Night Before Nationals,” FTVM’s “Raiders Got Talent,” the dance department’s annual “Motion Flux,” alongside many others.

This semester’s play “Romeo and Juliet” was able to put on three shows in front of a live audience but the rest of the planned performances were hit with cancellations. Moorpark College’s Theatre Arts department chair and “Romeo and Juliet” director John Loprieno explained that there was no choice in terms of cancelling. Loprieno also claims to be grateful for being able to put the production online.

The cast of Romeo and Juliet perform the scene where Romeo meets Juliet for the first time, on Tuesday, March 12, in the performing arts building.
The cast of Romeo and Juliet perform the scene where Romeo meets Juliet for the first time, on Tuesday, March 12, in the performing arts building. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Loprieno expressed the misfortune of the situation by stating, “Of course everyone was very disappointed. This has been a very strange and sobering time.”

FTVM has always filmed the Theatre Department’s plays for archival purposes, but this came in handy as the play only saw a live audience once. Since “Romeo and Juliet” is old enough that copyright doesn’t apply, the performance was able to be posted online for others to enjoy.

Moorpark College Radio and Audio faculty Jason Beaton’s students help to run the audio side of “Club M” every semester. Beaton stated that he believes the cancellations are a very wise decision based on the events of what is happening currently in our world and community.

Professor Jason Beaton observes his students perform an audio rehearsal on Tuesday, Nov. 19. The rehearsal was for the Club M Improv event on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Beaton added a positive light on the situation when asked how all of this will affect the students.

“I think you have to look at every negative situation you encounter in life and try to find a way to create a positive situation for all,” Beaton said.

All of the cancellations have had a tremendous impact on students as well. Seth Gunawardena, a 19-year-old Moorpark College student and actor played the role of Romeo in this semester’s play of “Romeo and Juliet.” While disappointed in the cancellation, he thought it was the right thing to do in order for the health of the public to come first.

Abby Holland, as Juliet, meets Seth Gunawardena, as Romeo during the first act of Romeo and Juliet performed at Moorpark College on Thursday, March 12.
Abby Holland, as Juliet, meets Seth Gunawardena, as Romeo during the first act of Romeo and Juliet performed at Moorpark College on Thursday, March 12. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Gunawardena emphasized the gratitude he held for his routine before the pandemic.

“Being trapped in my house has made me appreciate how busy I was with the show and how lucky we were to be able to put it on,” Gunawardena stated.

While the fate of many of the events is still up in the air, the recording of the Theatre Department’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” is available to watch on YouTube.