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article imagePetra Brusiloff opens up about 'Processing' production Special

By Markos Papadatos     Feb 25, 2021 in Entertainment
Petra Brusiloff chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about "Processing," a new production that is about four high school students playing virtual Monopoly.
Tell me about the decision to write specifically for a remote medium.
In the spring of 2020, we were all looking at a lockdown of indefinite duration, including theater closures. With that in mind, I wanted to write something that people could perform remotely. I looked into radio plays, audiobooks, video game Let’s Plays, and “video-call plays.”
What challenges did you face writing for characters who interact solely through a remote platform?
The biggest challenge that I faced was that nearly all the conflict and action had to take place in the dialogue. After all, over zoom, you can’t exactly throw a glass of water in someone's face, or snatch a letter out of someone’s hand, or give someone a hug. The video game is a virtual prop of sorts, but by and large the characters have to depend on their words, not props or physical actions.
Gaming is a big part of your play. What prompted you to include it in Processing...?
At the beginning of quarantine, I’d been connecting with my close friends through gaming. It was an easy way for us to come together and hang out without being in-person. Additionally, online gaming was a social activity performed remotely to begin with, so I thought that made it a “natural” and fitting setting for a remote play.
What did you have the most trepidation about when beginning the rehearsal process?
I wasn’t exactly sure how the game and technology would operate in conjunction with the script, and how it would affect the actresses. I was relieved and impressed to see our team work everything out so smoothly.
What do you hope audiences take away from Processing...?
I’m thrilled about the emergence of video-call plays, and the possibilities that the storytelling medium affords. I hope audiences leave our show with an increased interest in seeing and creating more video-call plays.
How have you stayed connected with classmates and friends during this time?
I’ve stayed connected by playing video games with friends and talking on the phone with them when I have the time. And I’ll send short texts to check in with people and see how they’re holding up.
Do you feel more or less connected since we spend most of our time on screens?
Of course, it’s harder to meet people and form new connections with our interactions limited by social distancing and technology. On the other hand, most of the people who I’ve stayed in touch with I would’ve stayed in touch with remotely anyway (because we’re in different regions). So in that sense, I feel about the same level of connection as before.
You're a freshman in college. Are you attending classes remotely or in person?
I’m attending classes remotely.
How has remote learning shaped your college experience?
Altogether, it seems to me that remote college is pretty awesome, although I’ve only been remote, so I don’t have any other college experience to compare it to. The most difficult thing about the remote experience is meeting new people, and I don’t really get the opportunity to talk about what’s going on in my classes with my classmates unless I’ve directly exchanged contact info with them. But getting to learn new things has been an absolute joy. I’m excited to see what happens when I go to in-person college.
More about Petra Brusiloff, processing, Monopoly, Production
 
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