By Faith Graceffa
COVID-19’s impact has truly transformed the lives of many all across the nation, even creating barriers within day-to-day activities that you may have not had to give a second thought to before. This has especially affected our experience within high school and its many extracurricular activities such as OCHS Theatre. However, group’s amazing resilience has helped them fight back against the pandemic and created a COVID-safe solution for their productions and performances.
Instead of live performances, OCHS Theatre live-streamed two mesmerizing plays this fall, The Forgotten Moon, written and directed by Mr. Andrew Steeves, and The Internet is Distract– Oh Look, A Kitten, written by Ian McWethy and directed by Ms. Elizabeth Fritz.
The Forgotten Moon tells us the story of Martin Fischer, a man who received the possibility to meet different versions of himself if he had taken different pathways. Throughout this captivating story, he shares his love of stories that he was told from his deceased grandfather who suffered for Alzheimer’s, and his struggle to hold onto them and everything else he loves as he ages.
The Internet is Distract- Oh Look, A Kitten is about Micah, who struggles to finish her paper on The Great Gatsby in 20 minutes without letting boxing cats, Facebook lurkers, pig-throwing games, and other wacky things found online take over her schoolwork … or even something worse.
Mr. Steeves and Ms. Fritz, who both have directed many high school plays, agreed that these plays were “completely different” from their previous plays. Mr. Steeves acknowledged that this play was “much more like a movie production” than the prior plays he had directed throughout his career, stating that a large percent of the play had been filmed in some of the students’ houses, requiring a lot of “effort and collaboration.” The plays also necessitated “location scouting and making ‘eye lines’ (where the actors had to look) for actors to interact with each other off-camera.”
Ms. Fritz agreed that, “As with most things this year, directing theatre has been challenging” and that it was a “bright spot” for her that the WHSFA (Wisconsin High School Forensics Association) “committed itself fairly early to sponsoring and running a fully virtual one act theatre competition series this fall.” For which, they advanced to the state theatre festival, and were given four awards (Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Acting, and Critic’s Choice Award). She also said that, despite the challenges and differences of this play, “gathering together, however you can, to produce theatre is at the core of everything we (OCHS Theatre) do.”
Both Mr. Steeves and Ms. Fritz said that the students in the cast and crew “truly rose to the occasion and collaborated,” did “incredible” and that “the show wouldn’t exist if they had not stepped up in a major way.”
Many challenges have arisen with activities in and out of school. Nevertheless, OCHS Theatre produced two outstanding fall plays and is currently producing two more shows this winter despite challenging circumstances.