Theatre Struggles During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Woodgrove High School’s production of Oklahoma goes on despite the challenges of the state’s ongoing Covid protocols. The show went on live at Weatherlea Farm May 14, 15, 16 and virtual performances were live streamed the following weekend, May 22 and 23. 


Woodgrove High School’s drama program had been working tirelessly to put their production together through screens for a full month when they were given the go-ahead to do in-person rehearsal twice a week. From clear masks to being six feet apart, many challenges come with trying to perform during this time. 


Director and Drama Teacher Addie Schafer-Banko said, “It is challenging since there are more duties to do in order to sanitize things, the protocols are constantly changing, and there are things to worry about, different from a typical year.” Students shared that with all the protective equipment they are required to wear, the show environment is hindered. Junior and Assistant Director Bethany Folks said,  “We’re actually rewriting the entire show. You can’t have any kissing or hugging, and you can’t have any of the fight scenes because you can’t have any touching.”


The cast members learned how to edit and film as well as learning to perform in these difficult times. Mrs. Schafer-Banko said,  “In this setting, we had to learn more about films, especially back  in the fall when we couldn’t have a true audience.” The editing team has been working equally as hard to let the virtual audience experience the show just as they would if they were in person.


Many students were wary of auditioning for the show knowing the restrictions and challenges that would come with this year’s spring performance, but the students embraced the circumstances they were given and made the most of it. Senior and Lead Male Role Matthew Cook said,  “My best memories of this production were hanging out with the cast. I made some good friends and we’d just joke around about the show a lot and make up a bunch of conspiracy theories about the plot.” 


As well as the fun memories, many students were able to step up and take on leadership positions and learn new skills. Folks says, “After I had been offered all the leadership positions,  it wasn’t even about being in the musical anymore.   It was about being in charge and being able to implement my ideas and create something versus just being a part of something.  Even with all of the regulations and tough things that we have to go through, this was the first opportunity that I could show my ideas to the world.”   


As a theatre production comes to stage this month Woodgrove High School hopes to continue bringing more normality to this upcoming school year.