Theater arts students are ready to rock you

Musical ‘We Will Rock You’ is now available to view after being postponed last spring after COVID hit and schools closed


Courtesy of Laura Woods

Theater arts students are performing “We Will Rock You”, a musical that was originally scheduled for last spring. The performance was postponed because of COVID-19 and is now available as a Zoom show.

Because of the spike in COVID-19 cases last spring, the earth ground to a stop. Events were canceled and classes were moved online, and everything seemed to be closed or delayed.

But with online school being more structured now than last year, drama teacher Laura Woods brought back “We Will Rock You”, the musical that was originally planned for spring of 2020 but is now being shown via Zoom through tonight.

The show was one month into the rehearsal process last year when quarantine hit, but the musical had already been planned and prepared, so instead of canceling it completely, they decided to postpone it until now.

“It has been challenging working over Zoom,” Wood said. “It’s very different than working in person where we can run through scenes and songs several times to get them right.”

The show has a total cast and crew of 25 theatre arts students, with most of the previous year’s performers returning. The show features the music of Queen, and is set in a dystopian future. The run time is a little over two hours and tickets are still available for purchase.

As can be expected, the process of producing a play online in a format that was never done before is challenging, so the production staff had to implement many new ideas to make sure the show worked.

“The old tried and tested method of rehearsing the play until it was perfect just didn’t work anymore, with all the actors being quarantined at home,” Woods said. “And as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge already, the amount of time available to use was less as well.”

Added junior Richa Prabhakar, the musical’s screen manager, “The timing for when we do the production is different.”

Last year, the theater class had a couple hours after school to spend on the play, but this spring they were confined to rehearsing during student support periods, which run only 40 minutes four days a week.

Despite the problems, the production staff have thought of several ideas to make the show a lot more polished, even in adverse conditions.

To work around the limitations of quarantine, Woods had all the performers create a mock up green screen in their rooms, and perform their lines in costume. For the musical segments of the production, singers would record their performance on their own, and all the voices would be knit together into an ensemble.

With the performers being at home and not on stage, the jobs that a lot of the crew of the play had to do were changed due to this difference in style. Usually there would be a lot more to do with the atmosphere of the play, such as lighting, but with this change, none of that plays a part anymore.

“We weren’t really allowed to fiddle with any of the technical aspects of musical theater,” senior Ryan Gee, part of the tech crew, said. 

Choir and AP Music Theory teacher Lori Willis took charge of the vocal performances of the cast, helping get them ready for the show. In addition, student choreographer sophomore Elena Town came up with the movements that the actors would perform on “stage.”

Working in an online setting has not only made the production more difficult, it also lessened the social experience of working on the play for some.

“You don’t get to communicate as much with the cast, it’s all about getting it done,” Prabhakar said. “There isn’t too much of a community aspect.”

The whole experience of working on the play has been changed greatly, but despite this the crew and cast are still pushing on to try and finish this play as best as they can.