Despite the ongoing pandemic, the MIHS Drama 2 class is still performing. Through Zoom, the two casts have rehearsed, recorded and edited together an entire performance.
The play is based on the S.E. Hinton novel “The Outsiders,” a coming-of-age story about a young man named Ponyboy Curtis. He finds himself caught between two worlds, the Greasers and the Socs, and faces many challenges, forms new friendships, and learns the value of family.
The dialogue was reflective of the time period that the story took place in, but the actors took a more modern interpretation of the story by using a Snapchat group chat to perform one of the scenes.
The two casts, the Socs cast and the Greasers cast, recorded some scenes on Zoom, and some scenes individually. They utilized places around the island and virtual backgrounds for set design. For costumes, the actors made use of clothes from their own closets.
When recording, the casts faced some technical challenges.
“We had to screen record the zoom meeting and sometimes the files wouldn’t save and we would have to re-record,” said Abby Weiss, who played Randy in cast Socs.
One of the other greatest challenges of putting on a virtual production is not being able to connect with fellow actors.
“It’s so different only seeing each other’s faces and not being able to use our full bodies as part of our acting tools,” said Brielle Gradek, who played Ms. Syme/ Jerry/Nurse/Soc in cast Socs.
“Everything was rehearsed and filmed out of order, so the actors didn’t get the opportunity to do the show as a whole and feel that sense of cohesion,” director Daniela Melgar said.
The students that edited the show had about five days to piece the two casts’ shows together.
Senior London Brunelle – Johnny in cast Socs – was one of the student editors who took on the task of fitting together these isolated scenes.
“I didn’t sleep all of Thanksgiving break. It was a few days of non-stop video editing. There was a lot of coffee involved,” Brunelle said. “At the end of the day, you want your friends to shine and the show to run as smoothly as possible.”
Even though they didn’t get to be together physically, the two casts bonded and worked hard.
“We always were willing to do long rehearsals after school and kept positive attitudes even through the challenges,” said Amelie Van Dooren, who played Ms. Syme/ Jerry/Nurse/Soc in cast Greasers.
The casts still got to enjoy being a part of a drama production, even though they couldn’t do it in person.
“We all work so well together, we’ve had laughs in rehearsals, and we had lots of fun putting this play together,” Van Dooren said.
The final product, although not the same as live theatre, has brought the joy of performing arts back into the lives of Mercer Island families.