Drama Club Prepares to Take the Zoom Stage: A Behind-the-Scenes Interview by Petra P.
This year’s drama club play“Virtually Ever After” is going to be performed in an entirely new and innovative way--virtually. This will surely be a challenge, but nothing that the JW community can’t overcome! I interviewed two of the sponsors to hear their perspectives on how the drama club will bring the theater magic to life!
What are your thoughts on producing a virtual play?
Mr. Mackie: While admittedly I have never personally had any experience in theater prior to this year, I think that the challenges presented from virtual schooling all rear their ugly heads again with virtual theater. Audio will cut out entirely or lag, video will freeze or lag, and the process of unmuting at the right time and pinning speakers for performances are tricky too. Ultimately, the diligence and talent of the performers is really going to show this year because in some ways the performers have worked hard to make something compelling and fun through a medium not designed for such a thing.
Ms. Richard: It was a fun challenge! From choosing a script to casting the show, we had to keep in mind that everything we were doing would be on Zoom. It required some out-of-the -box thinking, but luckily, our actors are fantastic and managed to bring some theatrical magic to the virtual stage.
Can you tell us a bit about the play and how it's going to work in a virtual environment?
Mr. Mackie: The play is a series of vignettes that work as modern, virtual adaptations of classic Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. Each vignette functions as a subversion of the "happily ever after" trope. Some are extremely funny, while others are more on the sweet side. The play will begin with our narrator reading from her book of fairy tales, then introducing each vignette prior to our players beginning each scene. There are nine short scenes in total with no intermissions. Anyone hoping to watch should use the bathroom and grab snacks before it starts, so they can be sure not to miss a single moment.
Ms. Richard: The play is written to be performed on Zoom, which means that blocking (stage directions) and choreography is limited. The focus is really on the character's dialogue and their personalities. The characters are all interacting with each other through virtual platforms, which makes the use of Zoom feel organic and natural as a part of the show. All of the scenes in the play are meant to stand alone, which also means that it is easier to rehearse and prepare virtually.
What's your favorite part of working on this play?
Mr. Mackie: I have immensely enjoyed working with these students. Over the course of this difficult school year, I have seen little motivation or engagement from students. However, all our performers are passionate about bringing their characters to life. Working with the performers is just too much fun! Doing my small part to make this play happen has been the highlight of this school year and my career thus far.
Ms. Richard: It will always be the actors. This year's performance required so much flexibility, outside of the box thinking and patience. Our fantastic drama club kiddos constantly astound me in terms of their maturity, but also their artistic expression. They have built something truly magical, and I am so excited for others to see it!
When will the performances be and what platform will they be on?
Mr. Mackie & Ms. Richards: Performances are on the 26th at 7:00 PM and on the 27th at 6:00 PM via Zoom webinar! Students and families can access the link on the myMCPS Dashboard or through the weekly newsletter. Anyone with a computer or smart phone should be able to access.
Sounds like this year's performance will be amazing! Hope to "see" you all virtually logged into the show! You don't want to miss it!