Lloydminster’s budding thespians are making sure the show goes on, despite having to work their musical theatre works around COVID-19 guidelines.
The Lloydminster Comprehensive High School’s drama department has been hard at work for the last two months, getting their musical theatre class up to speed for a performance of Footloose. Actors have had to learn how to sing in masks, emote from further distances and the drama room has been largely stripped down to give even more space for physical distancing. Classes have also been split for the time being, with cast learning in a two-hour “quad” while the ensemble learns in another.
Drama Teacher Simon Stang says he’s been concerned about challenges building chemistry between actors without being able to get close to each other, but the students’ passion for the craft has made up for it.
” I see the difficulty and the kids just are like, ‘tell us what we need to do and how we need to do it, and let’s do it,’ because they’re super passionate about it, especially this crew. Like they’re… man, they are super passionate, and they just want to be able to do this, and they’ve been saying that since day one. So I’m just glad to give them the opportunity.”
In normal years, students would perform their show for an audience, but Stang explains that they’re at the mercy of provincial COVID-19 regulations right now if that will happen.
He says even though he’s had to tell students about this reality, he hopes that this work keeps cases low in the City, and they have the opportunity to do a showcase, even though it might not be possible.
Students have also been giving positive feedback, excited to be back in the program. Grade 12 Danny Tepper is the male lead in this year’s show and says it is definitely different from an actors’ perspective. He says there have been some positives, with split up quads actually giving performers more time to work on lines and songs. He adds that he’s just thankful he still gets the opportunity to follow his passion.
“Musical theatre is something that’s like a really big part of my life, it’s something I want to do after school. It’s something I’ve done for. I did in grade 11, I did it in Grade 10, and I did a few when I was younger as well. So getting to continue this and getting a bigger role this time as well. It means a lot.”
Grade 12 Ryanne Jenner says taking on her next role is also big, and no matter how she gets to showcase her acting, it will be big for her and her loved ones.
“Especially my family, they are super happy with [my performance] in Mamma Mia last year, so the possibility just to do it this year, and just to be able to do it this year, I know for sure my family is just as excited as me, or more excited.”
Stang adds that the class is looking at some possibilities to take the place of an in-person performance, including a live stream or pre-recorded performance, among others if they can.