“And I am representing, for the last time, troupe 4239,” begins senior Anne LaMont as she rehearses her movements and blocking for The International Thespian Society’s virtual regional festival. Her words send a quick shock to the room. This pronouncement, simple as it may seem, is not so simple at all. “This means it’s been four years, and I don’t understand how it’s already been four years!” exclaims Mr. Catalano as his voice quietly breaks and his face slowly reddens with a few tears.
But let’s zoom in and focus our lens on Musical Theatre Class. Graduation and official goodbyes are still scenes away; there are more sections to practice and pages to write! Under the direction of Mr. Catalano, students in the class work on monologues, scenes, one acts, and technical theatre projects. Anne, among other students, will submit her work to the International Thespian Society for evaluation. This year, following protocol, students will submit their work virtually. They’ll start in the regional festival and if awarded a “superior” rating, they’ll submit the same work to the state festival.
“It’s a new and challenging era for all of us,” says Mr. Catalano after filling in for Simmey, who recited her lines via Zoom. Picture this: You’re in a two-person scene and it’s time to rehearse. Your partner is a fully remote student and not in front of you to practice reacting to your movements or moving in and out of the scene. What do you do?
“The show must go on,” as they say, and so must practice! After figuring out how best to use technology to their advantage, Mr. Catalano, Simmey, and Kayleigh devised a plan. Simmey on Zoom would say her lines, and Mr. Catalano would act them out so Kayleigh could practice blocking and mapping the scene with props. The result was quite humorous, and there was no shortage of laughs. “And that’s ok! This is practice,” reminds Mr. Catalano. “Theatre, much like our Marianist Charism, educates us for adaptation and change,” he offers. The work of the students will be compiled into a Main Stage Virtual Production to be presented this December.
The scene comes to a close with the camera pulling focus away from Anne and Mr. Catalano. We hear the countdown to action start and the music cued as another round of practice begins.