Springing forward: Fall drama goes virtual in COVID-19 conditions

Springing+forward%3A+Fall+drama+goes+virtual+in+COVID-19+conditions

By Brooke Vallin and Kate Phillips, Staff Reporters

Face masks, 6-feet apart and hybrid learning can’t stop the fall drama this year – the show must go on! This fall, the theater department will be producing a drama called “Our Place”,  which involves a group of strangers that are all united by a single place – a dock. 

Natalie Wallace, the drama director at Conestoga, is excited for the show this fall, as it was originally going to be pushed back much later in the year.  After hybrid learning started, however, the school was able to organize a system for putting on a show. 

“There was never the option of no play.  It was just a question of when it was going to happen,” Wallace said.  “I’m really glad that we were able to work something out.” 

One of the biggest reasons that the decision to keep the show was made was to maintain a sense of normalcy in the school year.  Plays have always been a fun and unifying experience for both the cast, crew and audience, so Wallace is very grateful that they are able to keep this opportunity despite the pandemic. 

“Honestly, I think that people need this.  They need something that’s normal.  Being able to participate in an extracurricular activity can really do a lot for a student, and I’m so grateful that we’re able to keep this going,” Wallace said. 

In order to follow safety guidelines, the play will be filmed and live-streamed on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.  Students and parents who wish to see the play can buy tickets online at stoga.net, where they will be given a special access code to join the livestream.  

The lack of a physical audience isn’t the only different thing about the drama.  First, there can be no more than 25 people in the auditorium at any given time.  This resulted in a dramatic reduction of crew – hair stylists, makeup artists and set design were either eliminated or significantly reduced in order to meet these standards.  Second, the crew must keep 6-feet apart at all times, and wear face shields – something that is especially difficult to do with microphones. 

In order to make the process easier, Wallace made sure to choose a play that could adapt well to a small, distant cast.  

“The play is actually different vignettes, or different stories, so you’re going to get to see a variety of smaller stories that have their own meaning.  We had such a short timeline for actually putting on the show, because we had to wait until hybrid was all sorted out in mid-October. So if we wanted to keep the show, we had to choose something that was relatively shorter and easy to work with, and the fact that a dock is the only setting is a big helper.” 

Despite these struggles, there have been plenty of smiles throughout the process.  Sophomore Cate Oken, who plays the character of Liberty in the play, described how she felt during the audition process. 

“I actually didn’t think I was going to get in, but I did my monologue and I got a part!  The idea of a virtual play is obviously different so it really helped to see Mrs. Wallace in person,” Oken said.  “Overall it’s just a really fun process with really fun people, and I’m so happy we’re doing this.”  

Junior Clara Steege, who plays Brenda in the play, is just happy to be back putting on a show with the rest of the theater department.  

“The ‘Stoga theater community is really great. Everyone is so kind and supportive, so it has just been fantastic to see people at rehearsals,” Steege said.  

Even though Conestoga can’t be physically in the audience, the play will certainly bring us together.  As cast member Jaden Douglas said, “‘Our place’ to me means home.  A place where magical memories have taken place, and experiences never forgotten.  A place that always stays with us.  It’s important that we all find where our place is.”