The Show Must Go On!

Drama Club Presents its First Ever Virtual Show

Bella Nisperos and Makenzie Michaelson

Members of the Drama Club were anxious for the upcoming 2020 season. In the past, members were excited to get in costume, stand on stage, and perform in front of an audience of people. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these things are impossible. This fall season, students were “left to their own devices” when it came to putting on a show this year. 

The Drama Club is putting on their first virtual productions, featuring scenes from “Left to Their Own Devices” and a main production of “Replacing Linda.” Both productions take place in the “virtual world,” as the characters have a comedic take of navigating technology. But as the characters of the plays face the challenges of technology, the actors and backstage crew need to make some adjustments as well. 

The sponsors of the Drama Club were faced with some major challenges, as Drama Director Leslie Kane describes how she picked out this year’s productions. Going into the fall semester, she knew that Lemont had plans to go hybrid, but some students could choose to continue with remote learning. “We wanted to do something that could include everybody no matter what their choice was, and no matter what the numbers were,” Kane said. Rather than changing a show that was originally meant for the stage, Kane chose shows that were written in a virtual setting. 

Additionally, Kane’s direction had to shift from a hands-on way to one that adapts to the screen. “We’re working with this little box for blocking instead of ‘walk to stage right’ or ‘shake the person’s hand,’ Kane said. “We kind of had to deal with micro blocking and a little micro directing in that aspect, so that’s probably the biggest technical change for a director for a virtual show.”

However, going virtual has presented many new opportunities for those in the Drama Club. “I think up until this point, whenever we wanted to have workshops or bring people in to see a production, it always had to be something that was local …but now I think there’s a lot more opportunities,” Kane said. 

Actors this year are facing unique challenges too that weren’t present in years past- the barrier of a screen. “I’d say the biggest challenge was connecting as a character,” Senior actress Bella Petkus said. “In person, you get to make eye contact, which makes it easy to react to a line or an action, but when you’re online, you don’t get that.” 

Despite any downfalls that may be present in putting on a virtual show, Bella Petkus has hope. “By putting on a virtual show we get to keep theatre in our lives,” Petkus said. “Even when we can’t all be together.” In the absence of any live theatre during this pandemic, all those in Drama Club are grateful to even have an outlet to channel their creativity.

In addition to the “virtual” stage, what happens behind the scenes changed drastically for the tech team. Enya Orozco, a junior and member of the Fall Play’s editing team, explains how a virtual show did not stop the tech team from participating in Drama Club. “Initially, I thought about the techies and how the majority of us wouldn’t be needed in the ways we usually are or even at all,” Orozco said, “The plays are one of the few events we can go all out with the lighting, sound, and sets, but due to the restrictions, we wouldn’t be able to do that.” 

However, the editing process added a new perspective to the tech team. “[Putting on a virtual show] just further shows how important constant communication is between the director, stage manager, crew, and actors which will be a helpful skill to have in future shows,” Orozco said. The editing process includes adding introductions, music, transitions, and end credits for each scene.

Despite COVID-19 shutting down all forms of live entertainment, Drama Club decided that the show must go on, safely! After many weeks of rehearsals, Drama Club presents a funny and lighthearted show that viewers can watch from the comfort of their home. “I think this is a really great production…I think people will enjoy and laugh out loud at,” Kane said. 

You can watch both Left to Our Own Devices and Replacing Linda on Drama Club’s YouTube Channel or view it here.

Left to Our Own Devices and Replacing Linda premiered on Friday, November 20 and ran through Saturday, November 21.
(Bella Nisperos)