The curtain is far from closed for students in Ms. Courtney MacNeil’s Theatre Arts class, as students prepare to end 2020 with a trial performance – pandemic style—setting them up for their annual spring showcase.
Instead of physically gracing the stage, students will perform via Zoom on computers and phone screens and will rely on built-in cameras and mics for sound and picture.
Students will star in a virtual reading of Natalie Margolin’s The Party Hop, which is set on a Saturday night three years into quarantine, where cast members bounce from virtual party to virtual party in what is now a typical night out.
“This play is conducive to the circumstances we are all living in,” said MacNeil, “and it’s important to show our students that even though we are living in a pandemic, artists are still creating and finding ways to reach people.”
This school year, the entire cast and crew is comprised of seniors, and all but one of those seniors is attending classes virtually.
Because of the circumstances, cast and crew members were asked to submit a one-minute video via Flipgrid, an online video sharing platform, to serve as auditions for parts and technical roles.
The technical team will be handling all elements such as: managing guests (characters) as they enter and exit within Zoom rooms, designing backgrounds, providing costume consultation and handling all of the music.
Students have been participating in various performance activities and rehearsing virtually throughout the semester to prepare for their virtual performance on Dec. 14. This “live” performance will serve as the students’ semester exam, and will be viewable to students’ families via a private YouTube link.
As with anything new and unfamiliar, there have definitely been drawbacks to this virtual performance, but students have embraced the challenge.
“The most important thing for students to walk away with is knowing that we have the opportunity to create something new and different that incorporates multiple acting elements that we can all be proud of, despite our current conditions, said MacNeil. “Embracing and working through the unknown is all a part of living in the age of COVID.”
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