By Juliet Becker, Online Feature Editor
// In a typical, COVID-free setting, people would pack into the theater to watch the DramaDons perform together on stage. In what now feels like a completely different world, audience members sit before their screens to watch the actors take the digital stage.
Through digital magic, the Acalanes High School DramaDons performed two shortened Shakespearean plays on their YouTube channel live on April 30 and May 1.
The first show was Macbeth, directed by senior Isabel Powell. The show was a condensed, 30-minute version of Shakespeare’s classic play with performances from senior Ray Roberts as Macbeth, senior Allyndreth Smyth as Lady Macbeth, senior Evan Mirabella as Banquo, and junior Laura Selle as Malcolm.
Roberts articulated her difficulty in playing such a heavy role as Macbeth and described her challenges in developing the character in a remote setting.
“Macbeth is such a complex character to portray. He is a warrior, determined, and strong, but at the same time, he spirals into a complete mental break. To make sure you have that range of emotions, from in charge to angry to losing it, is very hard to maintain,” Roberts said. “And especially doing this remotely, you really have to focus on so many different things at once.”
The following evening, on May 1, a different cast and crew put on the production Midsummer, a condensed version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Megan Crane. The show featured performances from junior Dagny Bradford-Urban as Puck, junior Evan Clark as Oberon, junior Devon Christensen as Helena, senior Giovanna Fry as Hermia, senior Katherine Groszewski as Lysander, and senior Quinn Elle as Demetrius.
Although the show had fewer viewers than the previous night, the audience members showed generous support in the chat. However, many more of the comments on the Midsummer performance were about the stunning background art the stagecraft crew created.
To adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, students performed in front of green screens in separate classrooms across campus. The behind-the-scenes crew then edited the students into a single panel to mimic in-person performances.
Some cast members expressed their appreciation for the complexity of the remote style and the work put into the final product.
“I don’t think everyone really realizes that every aspect of our performance is live – from the acting, to the green-screen merging, to all the technical aspects,” Bradford-Urban said. “The fact we’re pulling this off at all is just more than some are giving us credit for and I hope my whole cast gets the respect and admiration they deserve.”
Overall, the DramaDons felt satisfied with how the one-act plays turned out.
“It really has been a team effort, and we know that it will show during the performances. We only hope [the audience enjoyed] watching them as much as we enjoyed performing them,” Roberts said.