On top of its impact on all aspects of our daily lives, the COVID pandemic has dramatically changed after-school sports and co-curriculars. Although some sports teams could come together for practices and limited competition, there was no outlet for those interested in the dramatic arts to come together and perform for a live audience. The One Act Festival performance was scheduled to be held the weekend before schools were dismissed by Governor Scott last spring. After weeks of work by our students, the festival was cancelled out of an abundance of caution. Later that spring, the auditions for this year’s fall musical (and ultimately, the fall musical itself) were cancelled.
As the school year began, the leaders of the ensemble, Sara Villeneuve, Julie Filiberti, Christy Maynard, and Alana Torraca, were dedicated to finding a way to provide some sort of theatre arts experience for the middle and high school students who love drama. This fall, while the temperatures were still tolerable, they gathered outside on the lawn after school for theatre games. The students had some great ideas for things that they wanted to work on. They practiced improvisation, voice projection, role playing and character development – all while having fun.
After the weather became unsuitable for gathering outside, the group went virtual, moving the games online. They did a read through of four different scripts that were specifically written to be performed on a virtual platform. A vote was taken to select the first show that the group would perform this school year.
Virtual auditions were held with each cast member privately auditioning for the character they most wanted to play. The dramatic coaches cast all the students into the best fitting roles. A few additional character roles were written and added because there were more students interested than there were characters in the play. There are a few students working on behind the scenes support – website development, costume and prop organization, video editing and production, and publicity. Once the show was cast, the hard work of memorizing lines, developing characters, and rehearsing began.
The virtual platform brought its own set of staging challenges. They swapped challenges like voice projection with a stable internet connection. A focus on facial expressions took the place of blocking. Instead of stage lighting, there was a need to focus on personal lighting and framing on the screen. Set design swapped places with finding appropriate screen backgrounds, and detailed stagehand instructions took a backseat to behind the scenes technical controls.
Show dates for their first show, Bad Auditions….On Camera:
Friday, January 29th at 7:00p.m. & Saturday, January 30th at 2:00p.m. and 7:00p.m.
There will be a chance for some live audience participation, so please give your support to these talented students and join into one of the shows! The QR Code below will provide access to the website with details and links for each show.
We hope to “see you” at the show!
This blog was written by BFA Fairfax‘s: