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'Acting is Believing' to immerse audiences in simultaneous theatre/film shows

Published on November 18, 2022

'Acting is Believing' to immerse audiences in simultaneous theatre/film shows

Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre & Performance Media Program will present its second main-stage production of the fall semester, "Acting is Believing," on Dec. 1-4. Happening simultaneously in two venues within the Fine Arts Instructional Center, the show will entertain two separate audiences who will watch live theatre and film versions of the same show, and then switch places. 

Theatre faculty members Brian Day and David Pellegrini devised "Acting is Believing" by drawing on a work initially conceived by Brazilian director Christine Jatahy, who brought "What if they went to Moscow?" to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2018. Jatahy's work demonstrated the different ways in which the same story and characters can be constructed and received by audiences through two different mediums. 

Following the same concept, "Acting is Believing" does not rely on one particular story, but rather a collage of elements from a range of backstage dramas, from George Villiers' Restoration comedy "The Rehearsal" to Charles Ludlam's "Stage Blood," and classic films like "All About Eve" and John Cassavetes's "Opening Night." 

The performances that unfold simultaneously on stage and screen follow that collage-like structure, requiring audiences to piece together elements of the story and the motives of the characters during and after viewing both versions - thereby making the audience central in the meaning-making process. 

"For all the differences that are obvious regarding the capabilities of film versus theatre, our aim was to show the many similarities between the two mediums and give students the opportunity to work in both simultaneously," explained Day and Pellegrini. 

Media Technology Coordinator Travis Houldcroft and Associate Professor Anya Sokolovskaya assisted with the production. Guest designers Luke Reinwald and Megan O'Brien, along with Eastern faculty and staff, guided a team of student performers, filmmakers and technicians in creating immersive and interactive storytelling, while developing techniques unique to both mediums. 

"Acting is Believing" will be presented simultaneously in the Proscenium Theater and Delmonte Bernstein Studio Theater on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m.; a special 11:00 p.m. show on Dec. 3; and Dec. 4 at 4:00 p.m. 

Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for senior citizens; $12 for Eastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $20 for the general public. 

Tickets for this production are on sale now at 

For more information about this production, please visit 

For reservations, phone the box office at (860) 465-5123 or email 

Written by Molly Boucher