Despite the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, the Theatre Department at Princeton Day School is still finding creative ways for students to stay connected and perform.
Due to many restrictions, the annual production of the Fall play was canceled. Instead, students participated in the first-ever Short Play Festival by producing, directing, and acting in plays written by community members. These performances proved to be a fantastic way for students to get some amazing experience they would not have otherwise had, while staying safe. Commenting on this unique situation and productions, sophomore Laurel Masciantonio says, “This time is definitely a really difficult one for the performing arts, but I will say that despite that, I’ve had a great time doing small theater projects in class and performing for the streamed 10 minute plays we did this fall.”
Speaking of staying safe, the six-foot rule is essential when it comes to acting and dancing because they are physically demanding activities that involve lots of heavy breathing. When asked how the six-foot rule affects his class, PDS’s Director of Performing and Fine Arts and Design Stan Cahill says, “The six-foot rule doesn’t really affect what we do. One of the ideas I teach is that space helps to create tension onstage–it’s kind of like a spring. So when two characters are separated by space, the tension increases, which creates visual drama onstage. So, in a way, I like the six-foot rule since it helps me keep actors separated!”
In more recent news, the Theatre Department held an interest meeting for creative ideas to keep students connected and excited about what is to come later in the year. Mr. Cahill hopes to “find a project that speaks to the times we are in and allows for student voices to be heard.” This project will hopefully be an outdoor event in the spring. Masciantonio adds, “ I’m looking forward to working with my fellow actors and singers for a performance in the spring season. Stay tuned!”
Despite having to stand in the face of adversity, the Theater Department has managed to keep students connected and performing together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having powered through various challenges, they have great things coming soon for the PDS community to look forward to!