By Liam McGlynn, News Editor
// The COVID-19 pandemic is a situation that most never could have planned for. But with each day followed by the next, many are becoming more adapted to a new environment.
Over the past several months, Acalanes High School teachers scrambled to adjust their standard curriculum to the lessened teaching capabilities the spread of COVID-19 brought on. But one class, in particular, that is thought to be dependent on human interactions, found its medium in a new digital setting with the live premiere of the Drama Dons’ Monologathon on Wednesday.
Soon after the Acalanes Union High School District instituted distance learning on March 16, Drama teacher Ed Meehan needed to quickly plan a new project for his students that would help maintain their engagement. Later that week, Meehan assigned his students the first step of a quarter-long project focusing on writing and performing monologues.
“I haven’t done [monologues] with any of my classes this year, and once we went into lockdown, it was like well, I need an assignment that we can all do,” Meehan said.
Meehan’s announcement of the new project excited many of his students.
“Monologues have always been interesting to me so I was really excited to learn how to write one,” sophomore Paige Towery said.
While Meehan’s students continued to fine-tune their monologues over the past few months, Meehan provided an opportunity for his students to submit their finished products early to have them featured in Wednesday’s Monologathon. In total, nine students wished to participate in the Monologathon, including Dagny Bradford-Urban, Paige Towery, Madison Payne, Victoria Flint, Ella Dunderdale, Kiana Kalman, Brady Sugrue, Sabrina Lin, and Isabel Powel.
Although sophomore Victoria Flint didn’t initially plan on taking part in the Monologathon, after Flint received encouragement from Meehan to participate, she volunteered to submit her Monologue.
“Mr. Meehan actually asked me to participate in the Monologathon after reading the monologue I had written for a class assignment. I wasn’t sure if I was going to take part, but after Meehan emailed me asking to perform it, I was much more excited,” Flint said.
Entitled “Apology of a Lifetime,” Flint’s performance captured the story of a grandmother’s apology to her granddaughter.
“The role of Ada was inspired by my mother and my grandmothers on both sides. A lot of what she says in the monologue relates to my grandmother with my mother,” Flint said. “Although the situation is all fiction, I feel close to Ada and feel that I understand her very well.”
Lacking the feeling of performing in front of a live audience, some students found it more difficult to become focused while performing into a camera.
“I actually thought that it was harder to perform in front of a camera. It feels very different than being on a stage in front of an audience,” junior Isabel Powel said. “When performing in front of a camera I felt that I had to get the perfect take and I was not as focused on the experience.”
Although students faced challenges working on the projects in this unusual environment, one of the main purposes of this project was to help students learn how to perform in a digital setting.
“One of the things that I wanted us all to learn is the power of this medium and how we can create work for it so we can continue to engage in the theatre and in drama even though we have to do it distance-wise,” Meehan said.
Watch the recap below!
By Keith Johnson, Head Videographer
Click here to watch the full Monologathon.