Two Fall Shows Demonstrate Road to Normalcy in Theater

Junior+Laila+Mahler+and+Senior+Layla+Kaplan+performed+in+the+upper+school+play+Women+Playing+Hamlet%3A+A+Comedy.+Mahler+took+on+the+lead+as+the+role+Jessica+and+Kaplan+played+Gwen%2C+an+unorthodox+acting+coach.

Reese Taylor

Junior Laila Mahler and Senior Layla Kaplan performed in the upper school play Women Playing Hamlet: A Comedy. Mahler took on the lead as the role “Jessica” and Kaplan played “Gwen,” an unorthodox acting coach.

David Bryskin, STAFF WRITER

   Broadway and theater have always been synonymous with resilience, whether it be in Broadway staying open through World War 2 or theater popularising the phrase, “the show must go on.” Though, theater was not immune to the pandemic. According to Statista, 21.8 percent of people in the live theater industry were left out of a job in 2020. 

   From the start of COVID-19 in spring of 2020 to now, Trinity theater has had it better than most, and even then had to continually adapt. The theater department has faced show cancellations, postponements and performing in the sweltering Florida heat. But the move to shows in the auditorium and new clear face shields comes a much appreciated return to something close to normalcy. 

   “This year we’re pretty much back to normal in that we’re still staging things with space between actors,” Fine Arts teacher Donna Walker said.

   Due to COVID-19 concerns, last year Trinity had to cancel the all-school musical along with various other larger shows, but this year they’ve been brought back with the upper school play, “Women Playing Hamlet” directed by Walker and the all school musical “Elf directed by Fine Arts Department Chair Janine Papin.

   “There are so many people that really look forward to a big old school musical, but we were doing smaller shows and not only limiting the amount of people that we had on the stage but also limiting how close they were to one another,” Papin said.

   However, according to Papin, the vaccine has made the theater department more comfortable with putting on these larger shows. 

   “The vaccine–that’s what’s changed,” Papin said. “And even though people are still being contact traced, the majority of our school population that’s eligible to be vaccinated is vaccinated.”

   The increase in vaccine availability last spring and now this year has allowed an appreciated return to the auditorium for performances.

   “Performing outside, it’s hot, sweaty, and you have to wear all the layers of clothing – it’s just not fun,” sophomore Brady Thomas said. 

   Another big change in the upcoming shows are the masks. Throughout the past two years, theater has continually switched between black masks and various face shields, but for this play they’ve settled on a clear shield with the flesh tones painted in on the straps. According to Papin, even though these masks can create reflective sounds, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. 

   “As an audience member, you get used to it as the payoff is now you’re getting to see the person’s face,” Papin said. 

   Despite the multitude of changes Trinity theater has endured, Walker and Papin both said that the students have persevered throughout this pandemic, and are just as willing to perform. 

   “Just keeping going has taught us resilience to persevere; no matter what’s thrown at us, we’re going to keep going, we’ll figure out how to do it, where there’s a will there’s a way,” Papin said.