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Beyond the Square


One year ago, we all retreated to the safe sanctuary of our homes to wait out a global pandemic. Within days, CSUF switched completely over to virtual learning. Zoom, the 4-sided, one-dimensional, glowing box of light and faces, became a lifeline and constant. A menagerie of mute buttons, breakout rooms, chats, “shares” and cameras, all delivered via indirect eye contact and spotty WIFI. Completely new terrain for us all. But students improvised and created virtual classrooms out of their personal spaces — bedrooms, garages, living rooms, backyards and even cars. Life and education intersected multiple times a day. Week in and week out. Month after month for over a year. Student learning has continued. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. In January 2021, we gathered a company of actors from the Department of Theatre and Dance. Our goal: to create a space for long-overdue community conversations about COVID, quarantine, virtual learning and the complexity of students’ lives before, during and after they log in and out of Zoom. The podcast, “Beyond the Square” was born.

2020 pretty much sucked. For many people, probably one of the worst years ever. Optimists and Square Squad members Nick Garabedian and Mathieu Isanove wondered: “Did anything good come out of those twelve months?” Listen in to see what they discovered. (Teaser: Mat wrote a song!)
Square Squad members Joe-Joe Kelly and Solange Marcotte take a look at how CSUF students are coping, struggling, and thriving amidst global crises and long-term isolation. Candid conversations with fellow young artists and the sharing of works generated during COVID explore the many unique ways we have of caring for our health and creative well-being.
What happens when the entire entertainment industry completely shuts down and is deemed “non-essential”? Square Squad members Audrey Gibbs and Brianna Medina reached out to CSUF alumni working in film, television, and theatre to talk about COVID’s impact on the biz of show. Former Titans offer real time insights, inspiration and hope for those currently training to join a rapidly changing industry.
Square Squad members Nick Garabedian and Molly Renze take on dating and relationships in quarantine. Conversations with the single and coupled range from the embarrassing and weird to the romantic and downright hopeful. Listen in to find out if your connection is unstable!
Square Squad members Owen DiSciullo and Ashley Reed tackle the new student experience in an entirely online college world. Freshmen and transfer students discuss the highs and lows of their first year “virtually attending” CSUF, mostly quarantined in their bedroom, clad in sweatpants. As one guest put it, “I’ve never even seen the campus with people on it”.
Have you ever wondered, “What are my classmates doing when their cameras and sound are off?” Listening to a lecture from their shower? Peeing with the door open so they can keep taking notes? Napping? Join Square Squad members Sarika Mande and Solange Marcotte as they uncover the secret life beyond the square.

Production Team

Director/Executive Producer – Anne James

Stage Manager/Production Consultant – Jacob Ibarra

Assistant Stage –  Miela Williams

Sound Design – Mitch Tharp & Sam Moss

Graphics – Alvin Chiu

Social Media – Molly Renze

Podcast Intro and Outro – Sarika Mande

Square Squad

Owen DiSciullo

Nick Garabedian

Audrey Gibbs

Mathieu Isanove

Joe-Joe Kelly

Sarika Mande

Solange Marcotte

Brianna Medina

Ashley Reed

Molly Renze