The show must go on


Allison Marty, Staff Reporter

Due to the new COVID-19 protocols in place, Mount Pisgah’s theater program has been dealing with new challenges this semester, but it has also developed new and innovative ways for the show to go on.

According to Daniel Hilton, the Fine Arts department chair, the biggest challenge for the theater program during the fall semester is typically scheduling conflicts due to the many sports going on during this time. However, this year poses new challenges because performers have to wear masks and social distance during rehearsals.

“It’s a lot different to be in a play or do improv together with people if you have to have a mask on and stay six feet apart the whole time because it’s harder to communicate,” Hilton said. 

Theater performances are usually put  on for live audiences, but that is no longer a safe option.

“The challenge is how do we make things for an audience when you can’t have a live audience, because a huge part of theater – a huge part of any kind of live drama performance – is the fact that there’s a live audience, and you get to feed off of that,” said Hilton.

The presence of a live audience allows the performers to see which jokes and moments in the performance get the most feedback, and without this, it is much harder for them to really get into character.

Despite these setbacks, the theater program has been coming up with new ways to  still  have performances.

“There might be ways of filming things where we can have people standing further apart, and still film it and edit it so it’s more like a kind of like a movie or TV show,” said Hilton.

In addition, the program might be working on a play written by Daniel Glenn that is supposed to be performed over an online call.

“It makes really cool use of how you do live performances and be socially distant on a zoom call,” said Hilton. “For each character it tells you what the background is and each of their shots, so they’re in their bedroom or we’re at an office.”

So far, the only performance that is definitely happening is the Advanced Drama class’ one act play.

However, there is no performance date set in stone due to the newfound flexibility recording brings.

“We are now able to record it and can make it available whenever we want,” said Hilton. ‘The thing about scheduling when you have a live audience is you need to know what’s going to be on [the date of the performance] so that you can book people in and you can have the seats laid out.”

    “That’s not something that we are able to do right now [because] it’s just something that we’re going to film and it’s going to be there whenever anyone wants to look at it,” said Hilton.

This new situation gives them much more flexibility when working on their performances because they can decide to make them available whenever it works best for them.