York Drama Reflects on a Pandemic Season
September 20, 2021
There is no doubt that many clubs, sports, and activities were put on hold during the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic. However, the York Drama Department decided the show must go on. Last year York drama produced three shows, “Almost, Maine”, “The Laramie Project”, and “The Theory of Relativity”.
Due to the COVID guidelines at the time, York Drama was unable to have live performances, so they had to film all three shows. The fall production, “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani, was experimental,because it was the first show done during such unprecedented times. The director, John Forsythe, hoped to do the show live, however needed to abide by pandemic guidelines.
“The biggest challenge was that we didn’t get to do it [the show] live and at the last minute had to set it up,” Forsythe said. “ Well it wasn’t really last minute. We always thought it was a possibility that we’d have to film it, so we did have stuff arranged.”
In Almost, Maine the actors had to wear masks while performing. The actors found that acting while wearing masks was difficult due to many artistic and practical reasons as well.
“The hardest part about that was, well there were two things, number one was the lack of your partner’s face,” junior Aidan Costanzo said. “The lack of expression on another person’s face meant a lack of something to react to.”
The winter production was “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. The directors, Forsythe and Rebecca Marianetti, chose a different approach than Forsythe did for Almost, Maine. They filmed the entire play as a movie.
“I’ve done films, but never from that side of the camera,” Forsythe said. “We got to work with professionals who helped us to understand how to frame the shots and set up the direction.”
However, not all bad came from acting in front of the camera. Some actors say it was a refreshing change of pace.
“Even though we would sometimes be there just doing the same scene over and over again, it was a nice feeling to hone that scene and hone that dialogue until it was right,” Costanzo said. “That to me was a very fulfilling thing, artistically.”
The third and final show done by York Drama last year was “The Theory of Relativity” by Neil Bartram. And you guessed it; this show was also filmed. The musical faced many different obstacles, but they were able to work around them.
“I would say the most challenging part was recording vocals separately and then putting them together,” Marianetti said. “Luckily we had an incredibly talented music editor editing the vocals together.”
Filming the entire “The Theory of Relativity” production outdoors was a hard task on its own. Inclement weather, location, and more made the process difficult. However, it wasn’t all negative.
“There was a freedom, being outside, it was a really fun atmosphere to be outside under the sun most days,” Marianetti said. “I also think the show really lent itself to being outdoors. I don’t know that I could go see that show indoors anymore.”
The York Drama Department found a way to keep theater going during an unquestionably hard time. The determination from them displays the importance of creating art no matter what.
“We still made art happen, so I think what’s important is that we still made theater magical in a very different way,” Marianetti said.