How Theatre Is Coping With Remote Learning

Chloe Lee, Staffer

Theatre via Zoom. You may ask, “How does that work?” Well, many Theatre students at San Ramon Valley High School will answer this particular question. Theatre student Dani Forlenza says “It’s a lot better than a lot of people would have expected and we were able to do a lot despite the difficulties behind the screen.” This is especially true due to the fact that Theatre is a very interactive class and many people assume that Theatre just won’t work out on screen.

SRV’s Theatre President Chloe Tafuer explains 2020’s online Theatre experience, “I think the one thing that has kept theatre alive right now (and, in general) is the fact that theatre is always evolving. The pandemic shifted us in a virtual direction with its own set of benefits and challenges to navigate. As President, my main priority has been to keep everyone connected and able to enjoy their time in class. Theatre has been my safe space at San Ramon, and I want people to have that same experience whether in person or online. In order to accommodate the changes due to COVID-19, we have specifically looked at activities and plays that we can do virtually, and how performing on a virtual platform can help us grow as actors. Especially because everyone is sitting in front of a screen for hours every day, we make sure to add warm ups and games to keep everyone engaged and excited for class. It’s definitely been difficult at times, but SRV Theatre is persevering and it’s truly impressive to see artists adapting to this new environment.”

From the teacher point of view, San Ramon’s Theatre teacher Mr. Nash has explained this year’s brand new experience, “Theatre this year has been a real challenge. We have been really trying to come up with ways to do shows virtually but it’s been a struggle. It’s definitely hard over zoom to teach this subject but I think I have learned some new tricks in my teaching. One’s that I will utilize in my in person classroom when we get back. However, all in all it’s been difficult to teach my students because I don’t feel like I get the in person feedback that helps me teach. Also, in person it is easier to push my students to get out of their comfort zone. The better I know my students, the better I can coach them toward success.” When imagining what it would be like if I were in his shoes, I completely understand and definitely agree.

This Christmas Season, each Theatre 1 student got paired up to write a short Christmas related play and were supposed to perform them at a senior drive through. After much preparation including online rehearsals, building the sets, and even using staple guns for the first time as Sarah Barron- Theatre Student mentioned, we were disappointed when we got the news that due to Covid, we would not be able to perform.

Some future Theatre plans that we have set include 2-3 Plays that we will be performing. Check Please, Help Desk, and/or 1 being based on a popular video game- Among Us, that Theatre students Kyle and Carter wrote. Among Us writer Carter Mcmillan said “Theatre is a great place for everyone to feel accepted and amazing.” Many of this year’s Theatre 1 Class are excited to perform this ‘real-life’ version play of Among Us and are hoping that this will be a play that we can finally perform in person. Here is something Theatre Officer Brooke Sanders said: “Theatre has been great, because it made coming to high school less intimidating and it gives people a safe place to be themselves and have fun whilst learning how to act.” 

Mr. Nash said “We have been able to produce 24 hour plays, a season of MLI, 12 angry jurors and are still planning on producing: The Laramie Project, She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, one more 24 Hour Play series and one more season of MLI, but they will all be over zoom. We have had a number of performances cancelled including the Drive thru haunted house, Christmas Card Scenes, and Virtual HOWL: which was to be an Augmented reality Theatre experience.” Mr. Nash also said that his biggest wish was that he “could spend more time in person with the theatre 1 students so that I could show them more about acting.”