Theatre students put on performance of ‘Bags’

Directed by senior Kathleen Arbogast, the show involved a small cast of 3 actors


photo provided by Kathleen Arbogast

Kirsteine Victoriano (left), Julissa Ramirez (middle) and Joelle MacDonlad (right) practice their show.

This past weekend, three actors took to the stage in Trinity’s Attic Theater to put on a production of Anne V. McGravie’s one-act play, Bags. Set in 1980’s Northern Ireland during a time of intense political and nationalistic conflict called the Troubles, two women meet under unlikely circumstances after they are seated together at a cafe table by an erratic waitress. Trinity’s production, directed by senior Kathleen Arbogast, was performed in front of a live audience from April 17 to April 19.

Bags was able to be put on through the theatre department’s lab program, which allows students to submit a proposal for a show they would like to direct if given faculty approval. Arbogast applied and was excited to get the chance to direct a show herself.

“My senior year of high school I was really fortunate to get to direct a full length show,” Arbogast said. “So ever since I started at Trinity, I knew eventually I wanted to direct another show at some point during my college career.”

Apart from Bags’ being a good fit for the current circumstances with its relatively short run time of around thirty minutes and its small cast of three actors, Arbogast was drawn in by its connection to current events.

“It kind of focuses on Nettie and Jennifer, who have these religious differences and maybe even slightly political differences, but they’re still just regular women who are experiencing very similar things and have a lot to relate about,” said Arbogast. “And I just feel like there’s so much division in the world lately.”

First-year Julissa Ramirez was excited to act in the show due to its realism.

“The reality of the situation and how it wasn’t fantasy in any way is what got me interested,” said Ramirez. “It was historically set, and the story was something that could actually happen. And it just seemed like a drama as well, so I could really explore that seriousness with my acting.”

In order to comply with the pandemic health and safety regulations, rehearsals were first held over Zoom before being moved in-person shortly before the show was performed.

“It’s really weird to have people you’ve only ever seen on a screen be in a room with you in real life,” said first-year, Kirsteine Victoriano.

Once in-person, some changes had to be made to the staging and dialogue of the play itself. The meeting and relationship of the two main characters, Nettie and Jennifer, hinge on their being seated at the same table, for example. However, this had to be reworked in order to remain safe.

“I ended up blocking it so that they were at separate tables, but it ended up working out just fine,” said Arbogast.

Regardless of the adjustments that had to be made, Arbogast, Ramirez and Victoriano were glad to be back on stage after doing various productions online and over Zoom for the past year.

“I had done just one zoom show, and personally I hated it,” said Arbogast. “I am grateful that people were still doing theater on Zoom and still trying to keep it up, but I love the real physical stage.”

“What I really missed was being on stage being with other performers, getting ready before the show, putting on a show in front of an audience,” said Victoriano. “Live audiences are so special in a way. It’s so cool to be able to be up there on stage.”

Ramirez also spoke about the joys of being able to perform for an audience again.

“I remember the first night feeling like ‘whoa, this is super intimate to get to tell someone the story while they’re just ten feet away from you,’” said Ramirez.

While this is not the first theatre show to be put on in front of a live audience again, the joy of returning to the stage was not lost on any of the performers.

“It was really really nice to do that in person again, and I think that’s probably my favorite part,” said Ramirez. “I’m glad that this was the show that I went back to performing in-person with. It’s small, it’s quaint, but it’s meaningful.”