By Nadya Defreitas
We all know how hard it is to show emotions underneath a mask. Now imagine trying to translate this to the stage. Instead of smiling to show happiness, you squint your eyes and stand-up taller. To show you are sad, perhaps you mope and look down. To signify you are an important figure, perhaps you use a cool new walk and do some hair flips. Just as we all have, you learn to adapt. Although, it hasn’t been easy. Doing a musical amidst a global pandemic is hard work. It requires a lot of dedication from the cast, crew, and their families, but I know we wouldn’t change it for the world. I decided to send out a survey to the cast of the show and get their input on what it’s like doing a show amidst a pandemic.
Before I begin, I would like to say that all the decisions made were in the best interest of everyone involved, and I respect the steps that were taken.
“In your opinion do you think COVID negatively impacted the show, if so, how?
“I thought it was cool to record our vocals! Obviously I don’t think we should record them in the future, but that was another learning experience itself. We got to see how recording is done and learned the process of that – which led to a pretty cool end result.” (Ava Johnson)
“I think the pre-recorded singing made the show better because we had more time to prepare and rehearse it, and while on stage we could focus more on our choreography.” (Nathan Barry)
“There is the negative impact of cast members getting sent home. That was tough to deal with as a cast.” (Cían McCarthy)
“Although covid definitely did cause some scares, I think in actuality COVID positively impacted the show. Although we had some scares, these scars strengthened us as a theatre community. When we heard that the show might be canceled due to the amount of contact tracing cases, it made us stronger, for example, because while we were worried about our safety, we were motivated to keep our hard work alive and present it to others. “ (Nathan Barry)
“Originally the plan was to have the show outside which significantly complicated things. Thankfully, we ended up being able to perform inside but since the set was built for outside and there was no time to modify it, there was some difficulty there. It was stressful to try to choreograph dances and ending poses, where we would usually be touching other people, to maintain three feet of distance from other cast members.”. (Brenna Dukes)
“ No, not really….if anything it created a challenge for us to overcome. These were the craziest circumstances we had to go through this year with social distancing, masks, and dealing with missing people from the show due to quarantine. Although, in the end we put in an amazing show that sold out almost every show night with standing ovations. We also all improved on tapping, acting, and singing!” (Samia Hossain)
Then I asked: “In your opinion, do you think there were any positive impacts from COVID on the show?”
“I think that by having an adversity like COVID, we worked even harder and ended up putting on amazing performances considering. I think there was a huge positive in actually putting on a show, that’s something that we haven’t been able to do for over a year so it was really wonderful from that perspective.” (Eric Jacobson)
“Personally, not being able to perform last spring and not knowing for so long if we would get to have a spring show this year motivated me to work harder and appreciate the show more during the rehearsal process and performances this year. Also, I think that having the recording experience we got was a wonderful opportunity that would not have presented itself without COVID. “ (Brenna Dukes)
“The fact that the school/health and safety task force was so flexible with us and allowed us to do the show while keeping safety a main priority. We truly got the best of both worlds: a show + our safety !” (Samia Hossain)
“i think it allowed us all to bond because as a troupe we all went through the hard and good times together as a team and supported each other through everything. “ (Jolie Bentley)
“Yes, there was sense of drive in trying to get the show on, since there was no musical last year” (Marco Camuzzi)
Now onto less COVID related questions
What was the cast’s favorite dance numbers?
“I love Omelette and Musicals. I think I the large group dance numbers looked amazing and felt really great to perform. I’m also quite impartial to Will Power.” (Cían McCarthy)
“Hard to Be the Bard: I got to be sassy and charismatic + doing a fan kick while sitting on a table ! The lyrics are also super funny” (Samia Hossain)
“I love a musical because I just love how coordinated we all felt when we were all in sync with our dancing. It was a major accomplishment to be able to do that number. “ (Holland Bentley)
“We See the Light, because of how it all seemed to come together at the end. I also enjoyed the crazy Brother Jeremiah choreo!” (Nathan Barry)
“My favorite song/dance is 1000% Make An Omelette! I got to perform as one of the three tap dancing chefs, and that was the highlight of my shows (in my opinion). I think that song is just so silly and fun that you can see everyone in stage enjoying themselves so much during that song, and that joy is really contagious.” (AVa Johnson)
I then asked the cast members what their favorite memory from the show was and some said:
“During the understudy dress rehearsal, when some of us main characters got to cameo in numbers we had never been in before. Evan and I, for instance, play Nick and Shakespeare, but we were able to sit in the crowd during the courtroom scene.” (Cian McCarthy)
“I loved performing and being able to actually have a good experience with the troupe under covid circumstances “(Jolie Bentley)
“My favorite memory was during the performances of A Musical when the audience cheered for the tap break. “ (Brenna Dukes)
And when asked if they had anything else to add they responded:
“5 + 7 = 12. Thought I’d add that. In all seriousness, this show was an absolute blast from beginning to end and I’m beyond lucky to have performed with a cast such as the cast of this show. This show was definitely the highlight of my year.”(jonathan Currie)
SR was the perfect show for my senior year ❤️ (Samia Hossain)
EVERYONE IS TALENTED AND MORE PEOPLE SHOULD JOIN THEATRE!!!! (Marco)
Overall participating in this show was an amazing experience. While COVID led to some bumps in the road, we were able to put on a great show and have unforgettable experiences.