MTC Organizes First Ever “Variety Hour” Show

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Media by Waha Siddiqui

Senior Paige Hanson, secretary of Marquette Theater Company (MTC), raises her hand during one of the rehearsals of the “Variety Hour” Show. All participants are socially distanced and required to wear a mask. Hanson said the rehearsals of the newly adopted event are going well. “COVID has brought us together and we all want to do this art and have it go very smoothly,” Hanson said.

It has been two years since the blinding lights of the theater stage blurred junior Kieran Callahan’s, junior, view. Now, he finally has a chance to step back into the spotlight he loves.

Callahan left theater after his last performance in his 8th grade musical to pursue his athletic endeavors in high school, becoming a multi-sport athlete playing on both the varsity lacrosse and soccer teams. However, he always knew he wanted to pursue theater in the future. 

“I’ve always loved performing and theater,” Callahan said. “I’ve definitely had it in the back of my mind that this is something I could do in college and maybe as a career.”

Because of the time commitment to sports and practice, Callahan said his schedule always conflicted with that of the musical productions.That is, until the opportunity of starring in the Marquette Theater Company’s (MTC) first ever “Variety Hour” Show came into his peripheral. 

The “Variety Hour” Show, a fundraiser event, is an online show made up of a collection of acts and performances from about 30 performers that is set to air Friday, Nov. 6, as MTC finishes recording and editing in the next two weeks.

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“Virtual learning plays a part in my availability,” Callahan said. “I feel like I have more time to do homework, sports and now theater.”

Callahan will be performing a duet of “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors as well as a few large group dances. 

Senior Paige Hanson, secretary of MTC, is also involved in the “Variety Hour” production by coordinating the logistics and recording the meetings of MTC’s weekly officer meetings. 

Hanson said, because of COVID-19, MTC has to be very organized and careful in everything they do .Because of the strict time frame the group follows, Hanson said they don’t have time to procrastinate and put off mundane tasks, which is why all MTC meetings are preplanned and interactions are limited.

For rehearsals and practice, the performers were divided into two groups and obligated to practice in two different and socially distanced spaces to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The talent show-like nature of only a few people in a performance in the “Variety Hour” show allows for distanced rehearsals. 

“I would say there is just more pressure on us to be safe,” Hanson said. “There are even more expectations of us as individuals and as a team.”

“Variety Hour,” to Hanson, brings about a sense of normalcy and a desire to have things go as smoothly as they can. 

“This year, ‘Variety Hour’ has brought us all together,” Hanson said. “This is the strongest bond I have ever felt with our group in all my years.”

This year, ‘Variety Hour’ has brought us all together. This is the strongest bond I have ever felt with our group in all my years.”

— Paige Hanson, senior

Rebecca Blindaeur, theater director , shares Hanson’s sentiment about the necessity of a show to keep the group together in a virtual space.

Blindauer cites the previous summer as the time when the concept of the “Variety Hour” Show came to fruition. MTC had to do their usual fall fundraiser but also thought about the possibility that seniors might not be able to do the annual senior-directed “One Acts” because the musical will air at the end of January.

Blindaeur said the “Variety Hour” Show holds the potential to be a bigger production in future years, with material created by students and a production led by students.

“This could open up the doors to different modes of creativity that we might not have explored yet,” Blindaeur said. “In a way, the pandemic made it necessary for us to adapt, which forced people to get really creative. I hope that creativity continues in the future because there is an innate need to express within all of us.”