Drama Club is Back

Frankie Minich

The SHS Drama Club is back in person, and it’s been a long time coming. The change in DESE’s guidelines allows rehearsals to be held with masks on and student actors positioned six feet apart. After six months of “rehearsals” over Zoom, returning to in-person is an enormous relief. Even though we could hear and see each other through our screens, it never felt like acting to me.

When I was “acting” through a screen, I really felt like I was talking to myself. Even if someone’s next line was responding to what I had just said, it never felt like there was any interaction. It was more like I had a two-sentence monologue that was followed by someone else’s three-sentence monologue. They weren’t connected to each other even though we were supposed to be having a conversation.

Acting is built on human connection, and trying to act over Zoom strips connection to its bare minimum. The shows we put on this year were shells of what they could be–especially in terms of costumes, sets, and lighting–because we were constrained to what we had in our own homes and in the interactions that we had. All we could do was read our lines–any quirks or improvisations that would have arisen after months of in-person rehearsals were absent. You don’t realize how much people rely on body language to communicate until you can only see their heads and shoulders in a small rectangle.

Now that we’re together in person again, I have a greater appreciation for everything I love about acting. There’s no way to replicate the connection of talking to someone while looking in their eyes, and that goes double for acting onstage. It’s so much easier to get into character when I’m surrounded by people who are also in character instead of sitting in my room surrounded by my own stuff.

Obviously, I hope that drama can continue to happen in person, and it’s a big relief that we even got here in the first place. There were points when I felt like we would be stuck behind screens for years before I got to step onto a stage again. Thankfully, I now have a little more trust in the fate of the theatre world in post-COVID America, where I hopefully will be making a career. Hopefully, I can get my mom to have that trust, too.