Canna Zhang ’22 of Amber Dance Troupe in a scene from “Lifting Pas,” which was choreographed by members of Amber Dance with dance consultant Jumay Chu, senior lecturer of performing and media arts.

PMA students, faculty tell stories of life during pandemic

“Morales” is a first-year student at Cornell, but she’s experiencing her first semester online, from her family’s apartment in the Bronx.

Her parents have lost their jobs, so she and her sister are working part time to support the family. She’s tired of hearing other students say “We’re all in the same boat” because, frankly, her boat seems a lot less seaworthy than those of many of her classmates.

The story of Morales and her life during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of nine short films that students have created in collaboration with faculty and staff in the Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). The nine stories come together in “Off-Campus/On Screen,” a collage of short films exploring Cornell life in the time of the virus.

PMA will present screenings of the project Dec. 18-20, with live introductions and talk-backs with the audience. These events are free and open to the public; register here.

Students proposed ideas in the fall and have worked with PMA faculty and staff throughout the semester to realize these initial sketches.

“Our theaters have been closed for the last eight months, but we felt a deep need to continue telling dramatic stories,” said Rebekah Maggor, assistant professor of theater in PMA and the project initiator.

Maggor collaborated with Jeffrey Palmer, assistant professor of film, and Youngsun Palmer, a filmmaker and communications and events coordinator in PMA. They sought to explore the ways the pandemic has affected the Cornell community in unequal ways – whether economically, emotionally, physically or spatially. The creative team also includes PMA faculty and acting specialists Carolyn Goelzer and Panagiotis Angelopoulos.

Read the full story of this event on the Arts and Sciences website.

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Media Contact

Abby Butler