By Taylor Alphonso
COVID-19 has had a negative effect on all of us, as our entire lives are now almost completely online. But one area that has truly been affected by this virus is extracurricular activities. Clubs and sports teams that relied on in-person meetings, rehearsals, and practices are now nearly impossible. However, certain clubs have been able to make the best of this situation, one of these being the International Thespian Society.
The Thespian Society includes the “Bang Bang You’re Dead” production, the Improv Club, while also sponsoring the Fall Drama. The students of the Thespian Society have worked hard year after year to put on incredibly well delivered performances for our student body. Because of this year’s circumstances, it was impossible for the fall drama, improv club, and “Bang Bang You’re Dead” to be as conventional as we are used to. However, the Thespian Society was able to work around the unfortunate situation.
“We were told we would not be able to use the theatre this year,” says Ms. Goodkin, the Faculty Advisor for the International Thespian Society. “We decided right away that we wanted to do something, and that something was a radio show.” The Thespian Society this year put on a radio show styled like “The War of the Worlds,” a 1938 radio drama based on a book by H.G. Wells. “We held auditions online, we announced them, and people came,” Ms, Goodkin explained. Although it was different and unnatural, Ms. Goodkin and Mr. Corriveau, the Assistant Director, were still able to put on a drama. The 22 students involved worked tirelessly, meeting every day after school for 10 days, and recorded the radio show in whatever way they could. “They recorded in their closets, or with pillows over their heads, and facing the curtains to deaden the echo… some other students did the technical work of laying the tracks down.”
Ms. Goodkin goes on to describe how students were able to make these recordings at home, with microphones being distributed and safety measures enforced so that each student would be able to comfortably record and create the radio show that the students wanted. Finally, with the end result prepared, the Thespian Society needed somewhere to broadcast the incredible work that they had created. “We were broadcasted on [W Trenton State Radio]… the station manager said they had some extra airtime, [and so] our show was able to be streamed worldwide.” The cast of this radio show was able to put on a performance, regardless of how unconventional it was for them, and were then able to broadcast it to those both inside and outside of our school. When asked if Ms. Goodkin would do a radio show like this again, even if school was back in session, she wholeheartedly agreed. “Yeah! We found that it gave opportunities to some people who like to perform but don’t necessarily like to be on stage, it gave opportunities to people to be involved in technical production and in ways that they wouldn’t normally be able to, so I think it can run parallel to the shows throughout the year.” The Thespian Society was not only able to create a new way of performing in place of the fall drama that couldn’t go on this year; they discovered that this radio show provided new opportunities for students, and was something they would consider continuing in the future.
Clubs and performances that don’t take place primarily in the fall and winter seasons like “Bang Bang You’re Dead” and the Improv Club had to undergo certain changes this year. “They both held their auditions already; they are meeting on zoom and doing their rehearsals… I would say for Bang Bang it is a possibility to perform in an alternative space and maybe record it…” The Improv Club normally puts on performances in the theatre in January and May, while “Bang Bang You’re Dead” has its performance towards the end of March. Although the Thespian Society is unsure of whether these performances will go on as they normally do, they are still actively preparing for a performance in whatever way they can. However these performances are shown, whether it’s in the theatre, recorded, or in another format, it can be assured that they will be as amazing as they have always been due to the extensive work and preparation that each student and teacher puts in to make these performances possible.