In the true spirit of theatre, The New Players Company has truly embraced the phrase “the show must go on” when faced with activity restrictions due to Covid-19. Dr. Schaefer and other company administrators went through many ideas on how to bring performance back to the RHS community, from radio and Zoom plays to bringing back the playwriting program. They eventually decided that, although they still wanted to implement these ideas, what the community really needed was the return of live theatre. So, in the past weeks, the New Players have cast and begun rehearsals for a special outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s “MacBeth.” The process has been very different from anything the company has done before, with rehearsals taking place in the school parking lot, with masks on and social distancing.
When asked about the differences between this new process compared to past shows, director Kelly VanZile said, “For right now, small changes like masks and distancing are the best things we can do–it’s really exciting, and it’s new. It’s not a replacement of anything, it’s its own new thing.” Many changes will need to be made in all aspects of the show, from figuring out how to use props without sharing to deciding on costumes that will be warm enough for outdoor performances in late October. Despite the new conditions, students have shared the same enthusiasm for the show, whether as a part of the cast or the behind the scenes crew.
Despite all of the added efforts that need to be made in order to keep this show safe and successful, the excitement outweighs the stress and has created a community of positivity and new possibilities. Meghan McGorty, RHS junior and stage manager on the production, stated, “It’s great to be around people who are excited about performing, even during Covid.” Similarly, Sam Pettigrew, RHS senior and cast member, said, “It’s obviously different this year, but it’s great to do New Players again.” Students like Meghan and Sam as well as the RHS faculty are putting in hard work and dedication to make the entire season successful in the face of new obstacles.
RHS students should be sure to stay on the lookout for tickets to see the performance of “MacBeth,” which is taking place on October 30th and 31st at the Overpeck Park Amphitheater. They can also keep up with news of any new productions and fundraisers on the company instagram account, @rhsnewplayers.
Graphic: Vivian Yuan