Completely Original


Elise Unterseher, Arts & Community Writer

The University of North Dakota theatre department is taking on a new challenge by creating a completely original production titled Once the World Stopped. Through collaboration with UND students with a variety of backgrounds and interests, they conceived a concept that takes on the events of 2020. Once the World Stopped follows a group of high school students 30 years into the future learning about the many events of 2020. Mr. Silverside, a class substitute teacher, brings the class onto a journey into his past through all his experiences, stories, and interactive assignments. The class becomes shocked, enlightened, and saddened by the events they witnessed during the week they spend with Mr. Silverside. This play takes an audience through the high and lows of 2020 in the most entertaining way.  

Brad Reissig, associate chair of the theatre arts program at UND praises that “We are creative people. Our students have adapted to the world around them and still found a way to bring entertainment to the community”. Even though COVID19 has temporarily stopped live theatre, the UND theatre department has taken advantage of their circumstances and decided to exploit their talents and creative minds by doing something that can be positive.  


 Brad talked about how “Emily Cherry and Tami Carmichael, faculty members, thought that a student response would be a great project. They opened it up to any student who wanted to participate in the project. There were about 25 students involved in this.” The students according to Reissig “took on the responsibility to write the show themselves, as well as design, do publicity and documentation, create and edit video segments”. Also, Reissig reported “all sanitized, and had masks” and “during rehearsal and filming actors wore the clear masks and socially distanced”. This goes to show the resilience of UND and its students because they didn’t let something like Coronavirus come in the ways of their passion. This also goes to show that a pandemic can be worked around, that through things like Zoom, social distancing, and keeping a standard of safety there are many things that can be done and created.  

This unified group took things that were introduced by the 2020 pandemic such as Tik Tok trends and other COVID-related experiences and made it into a form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by all Grand Forks community members.  

A reason why this play should be on people’s agenda is that “This is something new, something different. It was created by students and it shows how talented they are. This show did not exist when we arrived on campus to begin the school year. That’s pretty special,” according to Reissig.  

To attend this production, which will only be offered online, tickets can be purchased through UND Theatre’s online box office at, or students and staff can call (701)-777-2587. The performance will be streaming November 5-7 and the best part is that it can be from the comfort of your own home 


Elise Unterseher is a Dakota Student Arts and Community Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]