New Albany High School thespians return online and on stage

Sarah Sole
ThisWeek group
New Albany High School senior Meghan Hohman, 17, who plays Agnes, rehearses a combat scene Oct. 27 with junior Mahdi Ahmed, 16, who plays Miles, in the school's production of “She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition.” The play will be performed for both in-person and online audiences several times this month.

As New Albany High School theater students return to the stage, audiences will be able to choose how to view their performances.

“She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 13, 14, 19 and 21 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 15, 21 and 22.

Viewers may choose whether to purchase in-person or livestreaming tickets via cbusarts.com. The in-person performances will be held at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Theater director Elliott Lemberg said the show is about Agnes, who recently lost her sister Tilly in a car crash. She finds Tilly’s "Dungeons & Dragons" journal, and as she plays the game, she starts to learn more about her sister and is transported to the fantasy world of the game, he said.

The show is female-centric and covers such subjects as bullying and LGBTQ, Lemberg said.

“There are a lot of really great themes in it,” he said.

The viewing options are just one example of how the theater department is coming up with creative ways to keep participants and audience members safe during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Lemberg said "She Kills Monsters" is the first production since the pandemic began, with the last one being the fall 2019 performance of “Beauty and the Beast."

At the McCoy, 118 people would be able to view in-person performances under COVID-19 state requirements, he said.

Lemberg said he looked at a variety of state and national guidelines regarding theater performances and rehearsals during the pandemic to create a proposal for the season for New Albany-Plain Local School District leaders to review.

Gov. Mike DeWine also released a plan at the end of August regarding performing-arts organizations, he said. It laid out expectations for rehearsals, performances and contact tracing, among other subjects, he said.

This gave the district the ability to be able to assemble plans for performances, he said. 

Based upon the governor’s order, performers don’t have to wear masks on stage but need to put them on immediately upon walking off stage, Lemberg said.

The cast for "She Kills Monsters" includes 27 students, and 15 students are on crew, Lemberg said.

He said he made sure to select a play with a smaller cast. The show only has nine characters in it, he said, and he made three casts for the show to ensure students can socially distance on stage.

“They don’t ever interact in the rehearsal space together,” he said. 

Lorelei Roeger, who plays Tilly’s friend Lillith, said it will be fun to see how the different casts perform.

“It’s definitely been a lot different, but I was so happy to get back on stage,” the 15-year-old sophomore said.

Macyn Swincicki, who plays Tilly, who comes to life during the show as her D&D character, said she has enjoyed the opportunity to work again with friends.

The cast and crew are working hard in a safe environment, Swincicki said.  

“I think it’s such an amazing opportunity,” she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah