Coronavirus makes living rooms a stage for high school plays

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
The drama departments at each of Hilliard City Schools' three high schools will stream their fall theater productions because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the drama departments at Hilliard City Schools' Bradley, Darby and Davidson high schools will present virtual stage plays for their fall productions.

What’s a virtual stage play, you might ask?

Think Netflix.

Instead of selling tickets at the door, viewers who want to see the high school plays must purchase a code for access to view it on their favorite mobile device.

Davidson will be the first to employ it with "The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon!"

The play will be streamed live via Zoom at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11.

Tickets for the PG-rated production are $5 each. Family-access tickets may be purchased for $20.

Tickets are available at localevelevents.com and at hilliarddavidsontheatre.com.

Director Trace Crawford describes the play as a “hilarious and fast-paced comedy” in which two narrators attempt to recreate all 209 fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm into a single fable.

The students will perform the play from their own residences, at which each actor has created a studio, Crawford said.

“The production is then broadcasted live (via Zoom) to our audience," he said.

A week later, Bradley students will present "Clue: Stay-at-Home Edition" at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 and 17 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 18.

The recorded production will be streamed virtually to audiences through Broadway on Demand, said drama director Rachel Moore.

Tickets are $20 each and will be sold via ShowShare at livestream.broadwayondemand.com.

The play is based on the cult-classic film and board game.

Moore described it as "a madcap comedy that will keep you guessing until the final twist."

Darby's play also will be streamed in November, though logistics still are being finalized.

Darby students will present "Love, Death and the Prom" by Jon Jory at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6.

The performance will be recorded and streamed, said drama director Heather Sherrill.

A platform for streaming had not yet been determined, Sherrill said Oct. 2.

Also, a streaming code will be sold for $10, but the school has not finalized how the codes will be sold, she said.

The Darby production is a series of nine one-act plays that occur in a high school, and when sequenced, they follow a high school year, Sherrill said.

No scene has more than five students in it, and students followed protocols, including wearing masks, she said.

Crawford said although social distancing and virtual plays prevent actors from relating to each other and an audience in person, the process has opened up new ways to interact with a camera, just as theaters around the world have adapted to web-based performances.

“I’d be surprised if streaming ever goes away even after the world starts going to the theater again,” Crawford said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo