How does a drama class put on a show while being socially-distanced?
This was the task at hand for Steveston-London secondary’s drama teacher when she began planning her class schedule during the pandemic, knowing it would be a challenge for her students to adapt to the virtual format.
Jean Kosar, however, not only put together a script for her class, but she also used the virtual platform as a chance to connect her current students with past alumni, who were also part of the drama club.
“I know a lot of the students are feeling like there is a huge piece of them missing because they can’t perform in front of an audience … but one good thing is that we have been able to reconnect with students who have gone through the program at Steveston-London.”
In total, 39 students at Steveston-London and 34 alumni came together to produce a virtual show based on Edgar Lee Masters’ book titled Spoon River Anthology.
The anthology is filled with a series of short, poetic monologues spoken by people who have been buried in the fictional Indiana town of Spoon River.
“I thought of how my students could still stay engaged in a performance despite having to stay distanced with each other and thought about the book titled Spoon River,” said Kosar, adding that virtual classes are “not how things are done in the theatre.”
Each monologue was performed by one person, which allowed the Steveston-London students to perform individually without having to interact with one another.
After recording and editing the play, Kosar said it was uploaded to YouTube in three 20-minute segments.
She added the students, alumni and everyone involved in the production of it watched the whole show during a Zoom meeting and it almost felt like a live play.
“We were all together and we talked about what we thought and how things went. It felt surreal,” said Kosar.
“The general theme, which also applies to us during the pandemic, is how everyone’s different lives can intersect in a small town, and how an influence on a person can have on another.”