By Nick Hawks
A Cleveland State University theatre production “Blithe Spirit,” which was set to debut on Nov. 6, was canceled after photos of CSU theatre students surfaced of them not abiding by social distancing protocols.
Allegedly, the students were celebrating Halloween and posting pictures on social media, not abiding by the “10 people or less” recommendation set by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The gathering occurred in Cuyahoga County, which remains a Level 3 Public Emergency in the advisory, meaning the risk for exposure and spread is very high.
The photos were sent to the CSU administration by a group that identifies themselves as “Anonymous Students,” with no further information identity wise.
In response to the email, which cc’d The Cauldron, Dr. Shannon J. Greybar Milliken, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said the performance was canceled and the university was looking into the matter.
“It does not align with the culture of compliance we’ve all fostered on our campus and our adherence to the 7 layers of protection which are key to keeping our campus safe,” she said in the email reply.
The CSU department of theatre and dance has taken precautions against the pandemic, including introducing the “Pandemic Factory Stage,” a stage designed to provide students a safe space to perform.
Director Russ Borski, who was set to direct “Blithe” before its cancellation, talked about some of those precautions back at the start of the school year.
“Creating a safe space to produce this semester’s three performances has also been challenging. We have tried to find creative solutions to having our students have performance experience, safely, and with great respect to the reality of COVID-19,” Borski said.
“Blithe” was set to be the second of those three performances, with “Blood at the Root” in Oct. being the first, and the “Fall Dance,” which aired Nov. 20, being the third.