Article written jointly Rory Collins and Nadya Ansari
Ever since March 12th, the world has had to adapt to a new life and many changes. Many industries could not continue work, and if they did it was extremely difficult with many modifications. Theater was and is one of these industries, as it heavily relies on contact and being around other people without masks which is simply way too hard to arrange. There is also the need for an audience, and who right now would go to a packed theater for a performance? Though this applies to professional theatres, such as Broadway and The West End, it also hurts the students at schools like ours who enjoy the theater department and are a part of that community. We sat down with a few people working on the fall play this year, 12th Night by William Shakespeare, to better understand how health restrictions and COVID-19 have influenced this production.
Our first interview with Tobias Otting ‘23, the stage manager, gave us insight into the process of running the show from behind the curtain, or in this case, the computer. When questioned about his expectations for the show he explains “I genuinely have no idea what it’s going to look like. I feel like it will be the best show the show can be based on how the rehearsal process is going,” he goes on, “ I think we have a good cast, an organized production team, a good producer, a good tech team and a good costume team so it should be successful.” While Otting seems confident in the team working on the production, overcoming obstacles throughout this experience has been difficult. Otting having experience working on the production of The Radio Play last winter, expresses the difference in how the shows have prepared before to how rehearsals have shifted in light of this hybrid experience. “It’s been harder than past years because we have a system for every single play, and this year that system is not able to be put in place.” The hybrid and online rehearsals have been difficult for the stage management and production team, unable to resort back to what has happened and worked in past productions. This experience for everyone is in early stages, and has never been done before at Beaver which makes this a new yet optimistic experience for everyone involved.
We also spoke with actor and theater officer Kayla Vinh ‘22. When asked about how the rehearsal process has been different from past years, she gave us her insight: “Well obviously it’s been difficult with this whole hybrid situation because even when we are in school we still are online because we need to rehearse with fellow castmates not there,” she then goes on, stating “It’s been hard to navigate that, most of that being technology issues that the director and producer figure out, and it’s weird to not physically see your castmates but it hasn’t been necessarily bad- just new.” This definitely seems to be a feeling shown by many students, ourselves included, as though the hybrid model of Beaver is a bit weird and ineffective at times it’s really making the best of not so great times and stepping to the challenge. Next, we asked about Kaylas likelihood to do a production like this again, i.e. one over zoom that is mostly recorded. “This is a situation where we were kind of thrown into doing a show like this” states Vinh, “Nobody was really prepared, and I think if we were to do a show like this again it would have to be gone about differently, maybe with a shorter show and a more thought out rehearsal process.”
The process of theater at Beaver has been changed immensely on short notice, but the actors and technicians have really stepped to the challenge. The fall play is still up and running, although online and recorded and is looking great so far. We hope to see you attend, although virtually, this incredible show with an amazing cast and crew!