“The show must go on is my motto!” said Director (and Middle School Drama teacher) Lindsay Quinn. Despite a few hurdles, and ongoing challenges the pandemic presents, Class 7 students have been hard at work preparing to bring Lindsay Price’s play “6 Ft. Scenes” to life for their Winter production.
“6 Ft. Scenes” explores physical and emotional distance between people but is not explicitly due to Covid-19. It is made up of fifteen scenes in which no actor comes within six feet of another.
The nine Class 7 cast members recently gathered via Zoom for memorization practice and a quick run through of their chosen scenes. Their energy and excitement were evident as they laughed and chatted together.
Before jumping into the task at hand, the actors and Director gave this writer some details of their experience.
“The idea behind the scenes is unique,” said Ms. Quinn. In pairs (in person), students are to film a specific scene from the play, which will then be edited together by Upper School Drama teacher Robert Thaxton-Stevenson. Each scene runs between 3-4 minutes long.
“They don’t make a cohesive play,” added a cast member. “Each scene is different, with its own theme. I think it’ll keep the audience engaged.”
“It’s interesting for scenes to make sense while we’re six feet apart,” shared another student, explaining that this kind of distance isn’t typical between characters when performing a play.
Ms. Quinn nodded along with her well-informed scholars. “Normally, I select something fun and engaging – specific to Middle School. When reviewing this play, I thought, ‘Would this work for us? Being far apart?’ But then as we read through, they laughed and really enjoyed it, and I knew!”
She also described the challenges they may have faced by rehearsing a full-length play in the hybrid model (one week at 100 East End Avenue and the following on Zoom). “It may not have come together properly, but I know these scenes will be strong and solid. I’m grateful we are allowed to film in person!”
Also of note is that none of the scenes will be filmed in the traditional Black Box Theater. Each has a unique location, some of which include the East River promenade, the library and the Berendsen Room.
Despite the colder temperatures, the two students who filmed on the promenade were thrilled by the opportunity. “It felt so real. There are pigeons and people in the background!”
“I don’t think it would have come to life as much [if we filmed elsewhere]. There’s a river mentioned in the scene and the use of benches is really important.” (Prior to filming, the students performed acting exercises involving standing and sitting to play on power dynamics – a theme of this particular scene.)
After a robust discussion with the ensemble, the first pair of students prepared to rehearse their scene titled “Dark Ride.” Other participants muted themselves and turned off their camera, so the focus could be on the performers.
“Now is the time to start and stop – to practice. If you’re unsure, call for a line!” Ms. Quinn advised. “Actors ready,” she announced. “3, 2, 1…Action!”
The Zoom atmosphere quickly shifted, as students transformed into their characters. Each actor gave a passionate performance, using a strong voice and emotion.
If this rehearsal was any indication, this dedicated ensemble will delight their Chapin community audience with their wonderful performances. We wish them the best of luck!
The performance will be held as a webinar, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. Tickets are free but you must register HERE: https://chapin.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5Vx0FOzVQUKKpu1wbFesdg
Hayden del Valle