By Ethan Potoczak ‘21
COVID has forced many things to change, especially for the performing arts. There are thousands of challenges of performing a show during a global pandemic, and a thousand more new challenges for performing a musical during COVID. What is beautiful about the Saint Ignatius theatre program is that it is students solving these issues. Departments have needed to be cut, scale has needed to be minimized and expanded dramatically in many cases, and the pressure is on.
Saint Ignatius is one of a few high schools within the Greater Cleveland area which is performing a musical this spring, and the group is determined to present the best experience possible. Every show over the past four years at Saint Ignatius has been students running the shows with adult mentors. Students have built sets designed to keep performers safe from COVID, students have designed and wired all of the lights, students deal with the sound systems, and students deal with everything else from a technical perspective. The theatre program is working closely with the Cleveland Clinic to make sure that everyone stays as safe as possible while still having a show to perform. Many ambitious plans are being worked out for Pippin, things that you are not going to want to miss!
Here’s a short Q&A from our director, Mr. David Hoover ‘03:
How are things different this show vs shows pre COVID?
“The biggest difference is the amount of people we can have involved. We’ve had to shrink each department but we cannot shrink the spectacle of the show.”
Has changed your view on plays/musicals in general?
“Theater is meant to be live. Movies are meant to be filmed. Trying to cross the two just doesn’t work well. Some may say that that thought-process is too limited and that, if you are creative enough, you can find a solution, but it really doesn’t work. I hate saying that because a lot of theaters NEED to be online right now to survive. At the end of the day, though, as soon as things can get back to normal, you will see every theater do so.”
Are there new opportunities or ideas that have come up from trying to perform during Covid, things that might be taken past COVID?
“We are certainly more efficient than ever because we have to. The level of professionalism has been outstanding amongst the students because we can’t put on a great show if the focus isn’t there. I hope the work ethic continues once things calm down.”
Any other general comments that you want to add?
“When you can, make sure to support your friends involved in the production. You may or may not be able to see them live (based on the amount of tickets we are allowed to sell come April), but a quick word of encouragement before class or during lunch goes a long way for these guys.”
Want to get involved with Pippin? Want to learn skills which will guide you for a lifetime? Join the Stage Crew! All grades welcome! No experience is required, everything is taught by students and mentors. Contact Mr. Ebert (email@example.com) Luke Weisend (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ethan Potoczak (email@example.com) for more information.