How Covid-19 Has Affected the World of OLSH Theatre

Source: https://www.olsh.org/apps/pages/theatrearts

Source: https://www.olsh.org/apps/pages/theatrearts

Katie Luxbacher '22

On March 13, 2020 things took a turn for the worst.

It was the last normal day before the world shut down.  By now, everyone who isn’t living under a rock knows about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Schools–including OLSH–had gone remote for over a year, and school activities were put on hold. However, when the following school year began and things slowly started to open up again, so did the activities like OLSH theatre. 

Due to the fact that the pandemic was still ongoing, adjustments had to be made. Ms. Manuel–director of the theatre program at OLSH–worked very hard to work around the issue and bring live shows back to OLSH, while taking as many precautions as possible. 

I recently spoke with Ms Manuel and asked her a few questions about her feelings, and how she made it all work.

 

Q: When you first heard about Covid-19, did you think it would be as big of a problem as it became?

A: “No I did not, I thought like the rest of the world. I thought it would be like a two or three week shut down and we’d have to take a few extra precautions, but that’s all it would be.”

 

Q: How did you feel when Seussical: The Musical and the Gene Kelly awards were cancelled in 2020? Were you thankful you got to put on a few shows before the shutdown?

A: “I was disappointed we couldn’t finish our run, but I was very thankful that as one of the schools in Spring musical season got to go early, and that we at least got to do one weekend. I also had a lot of compassion for the schools that had been putting in time, effort, and resources into their shows and never got to have a performance”

 

Q: When the new school year began, how did you intend to work around COVID to put on safe shows people could still enjoy?

A:  “We made multiple plans, to do a show with a live audience and students on stage if we could but we also planned to do shows that were virtual and monologue heavy. We kept the shows limited on props and costume changes as to keep the spread of germs low.”

 

Q: The theatre department has put on some virtual shows since the pandemic. What was this process like, and will you continue them in years to come?

A: “The virtual show process was a gigantic learning process and I still don’t know what I’m doing. It was very time intensive, it was a lot of fun to see how that and the filming process works. We still don’t have the equipment to livestream theatre but it’s something I’d like to do in the future. We only filmed the christmas show but it was like a movie where we edited it all together and it was beyond what we were ready to do. In the future I would like to purchase cameras and equipment to make it easier to do.

 

Q: Do you think socially-distanced performing will become the new normal? If so, how do you feel about that?

A: “I think it will be the new normal as long as the pandemic dictates it being the new normal. I think it’s a new way to look at theatre. And I hope and pray it is not the way our world progresses, but if it stays and it’s what we have to do I think the performing world and the arts will find a way to rise above that and still be there for people, especially in dark times like these the arts are more important than any other time.”

 

Special thanks to Ms. Manuel for all of her time and hard work!