As changes due to COVID-19 sweep across the school, ACTS drama club has made significant adjustments such as canceling the junior show and performing the fall play while actors remain six feet apart. While all of these changes have their pros and cons, both the play and musical casts have been constantly adapting.
Mrs. Jamey Wood, Mrs. Meredith Cloud and other sponsors of the club have modified ACTS to conform to current CDC guidelines.
Because of a dramatic decrease in club participation, the junior musical, “The Wizard of Oz Junior,” has been removed from the upcoming season’s performances. Rather than having their own musical, junior members will have the opportunity to fill smaller roles in the senior musical, “Newsies.” While most major roles in “Newsies” have already been cast, around 20 roles, both speaking and ensemble, are available for middle school students. The show’s cancellation may be disappointing to many students, but it presents the younger actors with new ways to grow.
“Getting to actually work with older actors [is a great opportunity.] There’s a lot of impact in watching the older actors do their thing,” said Mrs. Wood
Another fundamental change is performing the fall play, “I Never saw Another Butterfly,” in monologue format. In this format the cast will perform socially distanced on stage for the entire performance and will face the audience while delivering their lines. By doing this, actors will be six feet apart at all times, and no costume changes or backstage time will be permitted. This new format also allows the show to be easily recorded and streamed to families at home should the Nov. 13 and Oct. 14 in-person performances be canceled. While interaction with other actors presents some challenges, developing essential new skills, such as not relying on the other actors on the stage, is key.
“It pushes you more and more,” said freshman and “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” student director Livia Stetson. “We are used to memorizing lines and feeding off of each other, and we don’t get to do that anymore, so it is a little harder. I think it’s really pushing all of us and stretching us to places we don’t know we can be stretched to.”
“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” tells the story of a Holocaust survivor’s experiences as a child in Terezin, in a Nazi concentration camp. Both Mrs. Wood and Stetson hope directing lines toward the audience will create a greater emotional impact due to the subject matter of the play. “I think it’s really impactful because... now all the emotions that are normally focused on your fellow actors are being focused toward the audience,” said Stetson.