Plays and musicals look different this year due to COVID, but students and teachers have found ways to make this year as normal as possible.
Drama is a semester class this year rather than its traditional year-long class. While students were not allowed to do plays due to covid they instead had many alternative projects instead.
Last semester, Drama 2-4 students wrote 3 one-act plays as a team and then did a staged reading for an audience during our Virtual Theatre Showcase. Drama 2-4 students also performed monologues for the showcase as well. Drama 1 students put on a Virtual Holiday Show called The Reason for the Season and performed it for over 100 Novato Kindergarteners on Zoom.
During class time, students focused on the fundamentals of the craft and sharpened their performance skills set so that they can be ready to go when they have live guests in their audience again.
“Despite being online this year, I really liked the dynamic of the class,” sophomore Tia Blok said. “I feel like we have became closer.”
Drama students this semester also entered a drama competition called Lenanea. Lenaea is a High School Theatre Festival that is held at Folsom Lake College every year. Students prepare monologues, a one-act play, costume designs, set designs, original play scripts, and musical theatre solos to compete with high schools from over 45 schools in the U.S.Leanea also hosts various educational workshops given by theatre/entertainment industry professionals.
“It really is the program highlight of the year for many of my students, and me!”Drama teacher Haley Mcfadden said.
Drama entered five musical theatre solos (Daniel Ford, Jean Barrios, Devin Thompson, Aurelia Brown, Violet Cesko) three monologues (James Wreden, Madison Brand, Tia Blok), one costume design (Madison Brand), and two original play-scripts written by students. (Tia Blok, Cesar Sanchez, Syrah Jhutti, Adonis Reyes, Shannon Burrows, Johnny Lam-Lopez, Madison Brand).
Senior and Honors Drama student Madison Brand ended up winning a Bronze Medal for her monologue performance of Squeaky Mouse from For the Love of (or, the Roller Derby Play).
While restrictions do not allow students and teachers to go into the new performing arts building yet, musical theater students have found ways to still make this year engaging.
Instead of a traditional musical this year, students will perform a song cycle. A song cycle consists of songs being sung back to back without any script in between The song cycle musical theater will be performing is called We Aren’t Kids Anymore by Drew Gasparini. Gasparini is a 2004 SMHS alumni who is currently a musical theater composer/lyricist, a singer/songwriter, and a teacher.
The five main characters are students Daniel Ford, Marie Faring, Grace Jacobson, Jack Covert, and Jean Barrios. The rest of the students sing as background.
“One thing I underestimated was editing,” musical theatre director Kelly Gasparini said. “The students and I learned the process of having everyone sing their part and then somehow make it seem like everyone was in tune and all together.”
They plan to release their video around sometime in May.