Adaption for Fall Play 2020
COVID-19 has greatly affected the school and all of its sports, education, and clubs. One of the groups most affected by this pandemic is the Spring Lake Drama Club. At the start of the year, it was unknown whether or not the Drama Club would be putting on a play in the Fall, but in the beginning of the school year, the club’s director, Shay Chalupa, made the announcement that they would be doing three one-act plays titled, Check Please!, Check Please!: Take Two, and Check Please!: Take Three. The three shows follow two unnamed characters, Guy and Girl, who go on a series of dates gone wrong.
Although I was in this show myself, I talked to four others involved in the production to get more insight on this year's play. I spoke with Director Shay Chalupa, seniors Katie Glasgow and Adam MacLeod who played Guy and Girl, and freshman, Mia Paquinn. I asked Shay how she felt about this year’s production, how different it felt, and how she got past the challenges they faced. Shay said, “At times it felt surprisingly normal and other times very surreal. It varied from day-to-day with the news. There were times it felt like pressure...pressure to provide a sense of normal during this time when nothing is normal and changes at a moment's notice.” She said that it felt different because of being masked, social distancing, worrying about the health department shutting the group down, or the kids getting quarantined due to contact tracing, or even having COVID-19 themselves. Following this, she stated, “My motto is, ‘It is what it is.’ We either worked within the parameters facing us or not and I felt strongly that the drama students needed something. After being three weeks out from our musical last Spring when the plug was pulled, we all left feeling very sad and unfinished. With this, I tried to keep the script choice light and the production value low key, because I didn’t want to stress about it. I wanted this to be more about us getting together to do a show and have fun and destress a bit from pandemic worries, city riots, and election craziness than about having the biggest/best show ever.” Despite these hurdles, Shay said her favorite part about the show was watching each student take on a wildly different character and also learning lessons on how not to date!
Next, I spoke with Katie Glasgow and Adam MacLeod. These two went through a lot of crazy things during this show. Katie was quarantined towards the end of our recording and Adam was originally cast as two other characters before being re-cast to the leading role of Guy. Compared to the crazy side characters, Guy and Girl are the “normal” ones we see in the show, so from going to learning two parts that were very different and outrageous, Adam had to transition to something more laid back and normal: “Well, I was certainly excited when I learned about it. I knew that I needed to work hard for the part; it had a lot of lines to memorize. I asked a lot about how I could make my reactions more normal, if that makes sense, because when surrounded by all these crazy characters, it can be kind of hard to be ‘normal’.” In this show, Adam said his favorite date to do were the two scenes with his castmate Brady Leete, as he was dressed as a pirate waiter. He stated that his energy onstage is contagious and it’s one thing he loves about doing scenes with him.
Katie, on the other hand, had to deal with a quarantine, which hit her hard. She told me how she prepared for this huge role and how quarantine impacted her: “I practiced and practiced at home. Having a limited amount of rehearsals made me need to practice at home even more. I was so disappointed when I got quarantined, and the hope that we could finish after I got back was what kept me optimistic.” Katie’s bright spirit and positive attitude was most certainly key in continuing on with a show in times like these. To finish, Katie said her favorite scene was with her castmate Owen Druzgal, whose character was polyamorus and had multiple wives. She said he was funny and very fun to work with.
Finally, is Mia Paquinn, a Freshman at SLHS. This was her first high school show, and I’m sure this isn’t anyone's ideal way to start out their high school drama career. I asked her how it felt doing her first show during a time like this and how she’d rate this experience, “I thought the show went well being the circumstances, and I wouldn’t change anything. I think we all were just doing the best we could.” Then she rated the show, “8/10, just because I think it would’ve been way more fun without COVID.”
In short, this show wasn’t easy on anyone. The directors nor the cast. Everyone did their best, and it was an overall fun show and experience. We all learned something. The show was streamed through a link, and people could purchase tickets to view the show on December 4th, 5th, and 6th. Everyone who viewed the show loved it and it turned out to be more successful than they thought it would turn out to be. Although there were lots of changes, with all the negativity going on during this pandemic, this was one thing that put smiles on many faces and sprinkled a little joy into the lives of those who missed doing live theatre and watching the students perform the shows.