Bearden actors emphasize facial expressions with onstage seating for ‘Metamorphoses’


Bradynn Belcher

Bearden’s performance of “Metamorphoses” incorporates on stage seating, meaning the actors have been putting a greater focus on their facial expressions.

In 2021, Bearden theater students had to adapt to the challenges of performing with masks. In 2022, the actors’ faces are exposed, and the audience is much, much closer. 

To give a better view of the centerpiece of the set of Metamorphoses – an onstage pool – audience seating is isolated to just a small number of seats on stage. With this more intimate setting, there is more focus on facial expressions and gestures than with past productions.

“They (the audience) are on three sides of the stage,” sophomore theater student Alisa Apostoaei said. “This is more technical than having the audience just in front as you have to act and present to all three sides.”

Actors have to make sure each side of the audience can easily follow the plot even if they can’t be facing all of the audience at once and they can’t miss a beat in their gestures and expressions as they tell the story. 

 “As actors, we have to direct our performance in multiple directions and switch back and forth,” senior Ethan Saunders said. “As far as interacting with the audience, we will actually be able to see individual audience members’ faces, which will feel easier than performing to a dark crowd.”

Bearden theater students had to always emphasize good facial expressions even when they were wearing masks and when the audience was further away. But as an audience member, being closer up might make it easier to pick up on more subtleties of the student’s acting.     

With the onstage pool, Bearden theater department has also had to do away each actor wearing an individual microphone. Instead, several microphones hang above the stage.

This has been yet another hurdle for the actors to face forcing them to learn how to better project their voices to the audience, even having a day of rehearsal dedicated to practicing breath support and control. 

Well, we have to be much louder because we will not have microphones to pick up our voices,” senior Joshua Leslie said. “Also, with having water and live music, our voices have to overpower those sounds so the hardest part is being loud enough and being heard.” 

Because of onstage seating, there will be fewer available tickets per show and more showings this year. Shows run through Sunday, and tickets and showtimes are available at