Our show must go on

COVID-19 calls for adjustments within Roncalli’s theatre program for one-act plays this fall


Photo by Roncalli Flickr

Sophomore Amelia Warner (second from the left) will be performing in two of the three plays scheduled this fall. Dates are November 11th through the 14th at 7 p.m. with one 2 p.m. show on the 14th.

The curtain closes, concluding the opening night performance of “You Can’t Take It With You” in the Roncalli auditorium. When the tech crew comes together for a meeting, they receive some difficult news: the remaining shows are cancelled.

Last March, the Spring plays were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Junior Taylor Meyers, a 3-year member of the tech crew, explains her frustration with the early conclusion to the theatre productions.

“There are a lot of hard workers on the crew, and it’s really cool when the show actually happens and you get to see everything come together. That’s why it was so disappointing when the show was cancelled and we only got one show in,” Meyers said.

Despite initial discouragement, Meyers describes how the cancellation did not break her spirits completely.

“I’ve done tech since freshman year, and I’ve enjoyed it every year. And last year was just as fun even though the show was cut off. The people are really great,” Meyers said.

Mr. Phillip Anderson, the director of the theatre program, had the unfavorable task of sharing the bad news with the cast and crew after their first and last performance.

“It was emotional. I was proud of the students for giving a great performance under the circumstances. We got word about two hours before our first show that it was going to be the only performance, ” Anderson said.

In the face of last year’s obstacles, the theatre program is going to resume productions as usual for the 2020-21 school year. With attempts to keep the theatre events rolling, changes have been put in place to make this possible.

There will be three separate plays with smaller audiences of about 50%. Because the play is not as well attended as the musical, the hope is that playing it safe initially will result in a successful musical experience in the future. Under the Marion County guidelines, all members of the cast and crew will be wearing masks, unless performing. There will also be tech crew cuts to keep numbers low.

The One-Act plays this fall are scheduled November 11th and through the 14th at 7 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. show on that Saturday. Sophomore Amelia Warner has high hopes for the one-acts.

“I am so excited to see all of this acted out,” Warner said. “It’s such a fun script.”

Despite the smaller audiences and the social distancing, the cast and crew hope to give the audience a great show. And if all goes well, the musical for the spring will be “Newsies.” Anderson explains the reasoning behind this decision.

“We have wanted to do that musical for a while.  It gives us a chance to feature some of our talented male and female dancers.  While not a common place in the setting of Newsies, there were female newsies.  We will have female newsies in our production.  It is a great musical about perseverance and love.  It shows us the story of young people and the voice they can have for change,” Anderson said.