One Acts Go Virtual

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Three One Acts directed by theater teacher Chad Little and senior Sara Hong, will be performed through Zoom this year. “I think with these difficulties, we’re doing our best to push forward in rehearsals and we still make the most out of online rehearsals. I think that some effects this will have on the theatre department in the future are that maybe now if someone has to stay home for some reason, they will still be able to go to rehearsals because now we have Zoom available to us,” said Khariton.

Vivian Richey, Writing Wizard

After North was forced to shutdown in-person learning and move completely to remote learning, after school activities and sports were cancelled. An extracurricular that persevered through this is the theatre department, deciding to switch rehearsals for the senior One Acts to be virtual, for the first time ever.

“If school continues to be online, I think it will be a little tricky trying to figure out how to film and stream this production, but that being said we have had practice performing online thanks to Zoom, so we will have a little head start there,” said sophomore Evelyn Vordtriede.

Rehearsing over a Zoom call has been a completely new dynamic for the theatre department to adjust to and offers a new set of struggles for actors.

“Online rehearsals are mostly read-throughs of the script with occasional stopping to work on characters or pronunciation. The biggest difference between online and in- person rehearsals is that there is a lot more individualized attention and focused work on scenes and blocking in person. The hardest part of online rehearsals is that we don’t really get to bond as a cast, which makes the whole experience ten times better because you really know and get to grow close to the people you’re performing with,” said sophomore Celia Weingart.

In most cases, the cancellation of academics and extracurricular activities due to safety issues with COVID would lead to the theatre department either delaying or cancelling the shows. However, the theatre departments lack of activity this year motivated the students to persevere.

“Cancelling was not an option. We already missed out on two full length productions this year. I haven’t met any of the freshmen we usually have come in and truly miss all of our ‘regular’ students who are involved,” said theatre teacher Chad Little, who is directing one of the One Acts.

Having to rehearse online has caused students to come up with their own ways around conflicts, such as communicating emotion through a screen.

“At in-person rehearsals, when people are physically in the same room, it’s much easier to feel the energy in the room, and it’s easier to build your own character’s emotions based on the feel and tension in the room that other characters are giving off. Online, it’s a little bit harder to hear the other cast members through Zoom, so I have to work harder to build my emotion and facial expressions based on the tones I hear in the other cast members’ voices and based off of what I think the other characters are doing,” said sophomore Diana Khariton.

One bright side is that having this past year of experience with online classes and having to deal with the technology prior to this shutdown has prepared students and teachers for any unpredictable issues.

“There were no real surprises with online rehearsals. We have been working on Zoom for more than seven months. We are familiar with the lag time, distortion, freezing and all of the other internet issues. I just loved that every cast member has had their cameras on except for a couple who do have bandwidth issues and keeping their camera off helps with their vocal timing,” said Little.

This being the first time that preparation for a show has had to become virtual arises the question of whether or not this could mean an even more technological future for the theatre department, despite the typical dynamic.

“Theatre is not an online platform. Theatre is made to be shared by a group of people in the same space breathing the same air and reacting. The performance changes based on the rhythms of the audience. An energetic symbiotic arrangement is what creates unique live theatre experiences that are cathartic and moving. One interesting thing would be the number of new scripts that are being written through the lens of a Pandemic and life on Zoom calls and limited social interactions,” said Little.

Three One Acts are being produced to be broadcasted over Zoom later this month and next month.

“The third One Act we are producing is all set on a Zoom Call. It is funny, witty, and has some interesting takes on how people have been experiencing and making it through the last year of social distancing, fear, anxiety, and breakout rooms during class. There may even be some cameo appearances of our pets. This will be recorded through Zoom and cut together to create a fun streaming event for all students to view,” said Little.