The show must go on(line)! Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and students learning remotely, the Milford High School Drama Club still put on a fall play. Director Carissa Meiklejohn felt it was important for the students to have the opportunity to work together on a production because the performing arts provide an outlet for students to help deal with the challenges that 2020 has brought. Virtual theatre is a brand new format, but writers are quickly adapting to this method to provide productions that work in a virtual setting.
The entire rehearsal process was done using Google Meets so that all students could participate in a safe way. The cast met two times a week for six weeks to practice their roles and receive acting feedback. Then during “show week” right before Thanksgiving, the scenes were virtually recorded and edited together by teacher Mike Streck.
According to Meiklejohn, “I came across Tragedians Anonymous over the summer as I was trying to come up with a game plan for how to move forward with a fall play. It intertwines the contemporary issues of being isolated in a shutdown and using Zoom to communicate with the Shakespearean characters from The Tempest, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet.” The play is a comedy, even though it contains characters from Shakespeare’s tragedies. The premise is that the characters are stuck in a Shakespeare-wide shutdown and can’t get back into their own plays. The characters come together in virtual therapy sessions to discuss their situations.
The students adapted well to the new acting format. “I was really pleased with how the kids came together to do a show unlike any we’ve tried before,” said Meiklejohn. “In fact, by using the virtual format, students didn’t have to worry about securing rides home from school, so more new students were able to participate.”
The following students participated in the Drama Club production of Tragedians Anonymous by Rebecca Solomonsson: Jocelyn Argo as Hamlet’s Fatal Flaw, Bella Caraballo as Lady Montague, Ace Davis as Polonius, Lya Davis as Claudius, Mia Demby as Stage Manager, Will Evans as Hamlet, Jakob Faulkner as Prospero, Abby Lincoln as Weakness, Madison Long as Billiam Fakespeare, Jacqueline Matias Morales as Lord Montague, Keyla Natareno as Lady Capulet, Hailey Nielson as Juliet, Samara Noble as Lord Capulet, Daimi Roblero-Santizo as Fate, Ireland Stump as Deception, Zach Stutzman as Romeo, Mystery Villa-Parsons as Ophelia, Damon Wills as King Richard III, and Rebecca Wisniewski as Lady Anne.
Since the show was done virtually without a live audience, you can now view the Milford High School Drama Club fall production via YouTube at https://youtu.be/UTj1EC0tBzA It runs just under an hour. The show was produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Services, Denver, Colorado. No ticket price is being charged for viewing, though the Drama Club still had to pay for the rights to perform. If you would like to make a donation to help offset this cost, please contact producer Erica Snyder at email@example.com or director Carissa Meiklejohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.