Behind the Scenes of Theater Through COVID-19


Lucy Richer, Contributing Writer

There have been a lot of rumors going around about what is happening with the theater department this year. Theater is an important part of the school year for many students, Therefore, we are here to tell you the truth and a little more about what is going on this school year. 

We asked Mr. Marciano – English and theater teacher at Hastings High Schooland the production coordinator for the district – questions on the way the theater department will function due to COVID-19. 

The theater directors Laurie Walton and Rachel Wineberg will be directing the first two performances of this year. Rachel Wineberg is directing the high school play, Love and Information by Caryl Churchill, and Laurie Walton is directing the sixth-grade musical, Oliver Jr. Both shows will be performed over Zoom. They were also auditioned and rehearsed virtually. 

Since Hastings has never done anything like this before, options are still being explored so that the shows can be as incredible as they would be if in-person. The Hastings Foundation has generously given the theater department the necessary funds to buy remote microphones and other materials to successfully put on a show remotely. Putting on these remote shows is a huge challenge, and while everyone is excited to be participating in shows, it will not be the same experience for the cast, crew, and audience. 

Mamie Rushkoff, a cast member in Love and Information, talked about the ups and downs of the show process and how the play will be broadcasted:“I think the show is going to be different from what someone might expect. It is not like your average play, and we really took advantage of being on Zoom and fun tricks you can do.”

Mamie said that the most difficult part of rehearsing a play on Zoom is that you can’t make the normal bonds and connections with your castmates that you would usually make. She also noted that when she was in Peter and the Starcatcher, the show last year, the cast created bonds because of the in-person rehearsals, “but it’s much harder to make a connection virtually without collective rehearsals.” 

Erik Ghalib, another student participating in the show, said the most challenging part has been the technical difficulties! “You can be a great actor but have a bad computer or a glitchy mic and then all of a sudden your scene is a disaster,” Erik said.  

Even though the show has its difficulties, there are many enjoyable parts of doing the show in this way. The director, Rachel Wineberg, helped the cast discover theater in new ways. 

“I would have never thought it would be possible to have a play on Zoom,” Mamie said, “but Rachel Wineberg the director had brilliant ideas for the show which are going to be really cool.” 

Love and Information is a Zoom play, and it will be streamed on YouTube starting Friday, making it free and easy for anyone to watch.

“While this is not anything we would ever choose,” Mr. Marciano said, “we have accepted the reality and will do the best we can.”

Click here to view the play!