by Emily Ryan | November 19, 2020 9:27 pm
The RBHS Theatre troupe has always performed with an in person audience, in light of the current pandemic it was an obvious choice to perform virtually.
This was a game changer for the performers. They couldn’t have an audience, and they weren’t allowed to rehearse or perform without gloves and masks on. Due to the restrictions, the actors’ facial expressions were covered up and affected their acting because it does play a big factor in performing.
“The gloves were not as bad as the masks … it was difficult, however, with the masks. They were sweaty and bulky and made it hard to move your face and read other people,” junior Gwen Adelman said.
Besides that though, the cast would say that the energy felt the same or almost better in a way than their latest works together as a crew.
“It went a lot better than expected. When I saw the size of the cast would be less than 25 people, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be getting the ‘theater experience’ I had gotten in years passed. However, the size of the cast brought us together in a way I had never expected. This is by far my favorite show I’ve done,” senior Jesse Whisler said.
This year’s planning for the play was somewhat different in a way only because the instructor would usually be given time during the summer for planning and writing, but because they weren’t sure if they would be able to perform, they only started planning around August when school had started.
But the instructor did have time to plan out guidelines and safety precautions to follow if the crew was allowed to go back to the school and rehearse/perform.
“ … I knew how hard our directors had worked over the summer to make sure there were safe ways for us to put on a production. I didn’t want to get my hopes up though since I knew things were getting worse with Covid and nothing was for sure,” senior Haley Rayfield said.
Aside from all the difficulties the theatre crew had, the whole process went more smoothly then anyone had imagined.
“I think the play went really well this year! … a lot of times we were really nervous that we were going to get shut down and that we wouldn’t get to perform … and we were all incredibly cautious because we were so committed to getting our show out there,” Rayfield said.
“Even with all the restrictions, this was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been part of. I had the opportunity to make new friends and strengthen old friendships, which was really special, especially now that restrictions are becoming strict, and group gatherings are once again going to become a thing of the past,” junior Grace Fuechtmann said.
It was disappointing for the cast though when they heard that they were only performing virtually, and they were so used to having an audience, plus being able to share their work with larger groups of people was always more fun.
“This is so cheesy but nothing compares to the feeling of being in a live performance. The ‘thrill’ of theater has always been the audience component for me and most others, so naturally we were pretty upset that no one would be able to watch live,” Whisler said.
“Theatre is really an immersive experience, especially with a show like Clue, and having a live audience makes the connection between the actors and audience much more intimate,” Rayfield said.
It was nice for the crew though to be able to have the bonding experience, and being able to experiment different ways of performing considering all that needed to be done to make it safe for everyone.
“My favorite part was definitely getting back onstage after all those months staying inside … creating art with people you are so close to makes it so much more special, and that’s definitely something we used to take for granted,” Rayfield said.
And the virtual play was also said to be a positive experience for both the audience and performers.
“Everyone I knew personally who had seen the show enjoyed it, and no matter what, I’m proud of and satisfied with the outcome. My family members and friends all reached out to tell me they enjoyed the show,” Whisler said.
“I got a lot of positive reviews for many people. The show was a really great pick for all audiences. I think there was something there for everyone,” Adelman said.
All and all, the cast and crew were happy with the process and show, and the audiences also had a great time seeing how everything planned out in the end.
“I think that this was the best possible way we could’ve gone about doing a production in a pandemic, and it’s definitely something I will never forget … we also learned never to take these opportunities for granted ever again. We made an effort to make each and every rehearsal count because we never knew if we would get shut down the next day,” Rayfield said.
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