By: Eduardo Sanchez
East Los Angeles College’s theater club The Performance East Club proved they live by the phrase the show must go on.
Even with the COVID-19 outbreak shutting down campus last year, the club found a way to continue holding meetings by going virtual.
They have continued to adapt to the new normal as state restrictions are slowly lifted.
The club strives to be as inclusive as always for their upcoming Spring productions. They are also preparing for their annual theater competition in Washington.
“This is something we do annually and this year is not going to be an exception,” said club secretary Jorge Riva.
Club members who reach the finals are eligible to travel and compete in Washington for first place.
With the upcoming auditions for the Spring performances, students that show promise will be chosen to compete in several competitions.
Those who audition will be selected for one of the various productions being worked on.
“All teachers work together to solidify a good group of actors and from there they select where each one is going to go. At the same time the production is being put together,” Riva said.
Not only are there these productions, but there is a course outside of the club that is part of the theater department that is a traveling show.
Students not only gain credit for their requirements but they get to gain acting experience and travel to public schools to perform.
“Because of covid there’s not a lot of [theater productions] like there usually is in the theater department. But for sure there’s going to be two,” Rivas said.
COVID-19 impacted the club greatly despite virtual meetings. Professors created virtual programming for students to see and learn from; however, Riva says that it “Doesn’t match to the quality, to the intensity of being in person and feeling the actor’s pain, happiness, and struggles.”
Now that the club is able to have in-person meetings, they make sure to include those that can’t make it by offering Zoom options.
Meetings last for an hour unless more time is needed for agenda items to be discussed.
There is always time for the students to socialize and get to know each other.
“Theater would be the least of the activities that we do but it is through theater and the arts that we — that’s basically the medium we use to get students involved into organizing and becoming more social and mainly taking action in the community or college events. The bigger picture is allowing students to excel in whatever endeavors they have,” Riva said.
The club has organized plenty of events from dances, and various forms of fundraisers to most recently, the first-ever Día De Los Muertos altar at ELAC in early November.
“The Performance East Club is a club that welcomes one and all students that are interested in taking leadership, learning about the arts, and students that are willing to push themselves into becoming better leaders,” Riva said.
“The club provides a lot of opportunities for students at ELAC to get to know what is a responsibility, to be able to lead people onto something that in the long term is going to be beneficial for their future.”
“We always welcome everyone that would like to be a part of the various events. We welcome those who have a need to be more social. We welcome those who want to explore the area of acting, or, you know, the arts,.” Riva said.
The club is open to everyone and to hear new ideas. Riva said new members mean fresh new ideas for the club.
“The club also welcomes everyone from any religious, cultural, or ethnic background. We do not discriminate, and we welcome everyone with an interest in becoming a leader or part of a club. We welcome everyone, every size, height, you know, anybody that has got an interest in the club, in becoming involved in the community, in cultural events. We are opening the doors to everyone. So please come on down,” Riva said.
Meetings for the club are held every Tuesday from noon to 1 pm.