CaTheatre adjusts to Covid-19 pandemic concerns

The show must go on, faculty directors say

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Cathedran file photo

Student actors performed during last fall’s dramatic production of “Radium Girls.”

Ellie Moores, Reporter

The theater department is used to showcasing their students’ work and talent with musicals and dramatic productions. But the Covid-19 chaos has turned every facet of the school community upside down and student theater, commonly referred to as CaTheatre, is no exception.

Each year, the theater program puts on four shows: the fall play, the student directed show, the Rookie Showcase and the spring musical. However, this year’s productions will look different from those of years past.

However, even with the new changes and restrictions, Theatre director Miss Maria Souza and theatre department chair Mr. Michael Moffatt say the show must go on.

Souza said, “It’s not an option to compromise people’s health and safety.” As a result, she and Moffat have brainstormed ideas to safely rehearse and perform shows while adhering to the Marion County Public Health Department’s guidelines. With peoples’ well-being in mind, the way theatre practices and puts on shows will change.

Senior Claire Miller, who will co-direct the student directed show later this year, said that the program will attempt to rehearse virtually and social distance with masks when meeting in person. Another new change is that there will be no shared props. Each cast member will have their own assigned props to reduce touching and the spread of germs.

Performances will also be adjusted to meet the Marion County Public Health Department’s protocol. For example, the upcoming fall play, “Hades,” will likely not be performed in the auditorium, but instead take place along the trail while the audience walks from scene to scene. Masks will also have to be worn during performances.

Masks may be perceived as hindering the actors’ ability to perform, but Moffatt and Souza have come up with a creative way to incorporate masks into the design of the show. “Hades” is a play based on an Ancient Greek myth so Souza said she intends on using the iconic theatre masks worn in Ancient Greek Theatre to “make them a part of the show.”

But the fall play is not the only performance that is being adjusted. The Rookie Showcase and the student directed play will also undergo some changes.

Moffatt explained that the Rookie Showcase, a production consisting of actors new to the theater program, will be split into small segments instead of one long performance as it has been in the past. And rather than taking place in the early fall like it normally would, the student directed show has been pushed back several months and will not take place until February.

Last year, many students were let down when the spring musical “Hairspray” was canceled. The entire theater program was devastated. However, this year, Moffatt and Souza are hopeful that all shows will be able to be performed. Moffat said, “We are still keeping theatre alive and we are going to be doing theatre. It will just look completely different than what we have done in the past.”

Souza exhibits a similar attitude about the program. Even though it is her first year as theater director and she will face more obstacles than past directors have, Souza said she “is not one to step away from challenges” and as the program’s new director she pledges to “keep the art alive.”