San Lorenzo Valley High School has proven its drama chops time and again with a variety of plays and musicals over the years—from “Chicago” to “Grease” to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” While the majority of performances are directed by district staff, each year features a student-directed play, giving senior thespians an opportunity to strut their stuff from the directorial perch.
This season, SLVHS’ drama department will present an entirely socially distanced performance of “Clue (High School Edition): Stay-at-Home Version.”
The online play is directed by seniors Esperanza Clark and Lennon Lilienthal-Wynn and will be live-streamed from Nov. 13-21. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, with two weekend matinees at 2pm on Nov. 15 and Nov. 21. There is an additional Thursday evening performance on Nov. 19 at 7pm. A live-stream fee of $15 per household and $10 single-view stream will be available to purchase in advance at the SLV Drama Boosters webpage.
Press Banner:How did you two come up with the idea of live-streaming a play like this?
Clark/Lilienthal-Wynn: San Lorenzo High School has had a student-directed play for many years. Because of Covid-19 regulations, most if not all live stage theatre has been presented via Zoom, including Broadway productions. So SLV High decided to give it a try! Thankfully, with Broadway Licensing and ShowShare, we are able to have a live-streamed show with more than just one performance.
We knew we wanted to do Clue, but the overarching question was “how?” Do we record it, do we put it on safely outside, do we livestream? A bunch of questions went through our mind but they were narrowed down by Broadway Licensing who, when they gave us the rights to Clue, also put a detailed way of presenting it by live-streaming the Zoom performance of the play. We thought this was great, the actors still got the “live” aspect of performing in front of an audience in real time, and everyone was safe. The obvious obstacles are making what is supposed to be a group of actors moving around onstage to a stagnant picture frame. We had to make sure the actors used up the entire frame, and they had to overcome acting alone in their room. Covid continues to surprise us all on what is different, and just how different it is, yet, we adapt in all aspects, and luckily we were able to be here and still put on what I’ve seen is a killer show! Pun intended.
PB: I'm imagining there are some obstacles to overcome…
Clark/Lilienthal-Wynn: It has definitely been difficult to continue to be positive about everything. We, as directors, try to maintain students’ spirits with the show and we try to make everything as good as it can be, but it can be tough not having a stage or in-person rehearsals. We all miss being on the stage, and it’s going to be tough continuing with Zoom performances, but thankfully the community is strong and supportive. We know we can continue with our productions and still be the best actors we can be.
PB: How many actors will be part of this event? Do you have just one cast, or two?
Clark/Lilienthal-Wynn: There is one cast with 12 actors. There are also four crew members working off-camera to manage the Zoom performance. The stage crew includes Zoltan Stromberg on lights/sounds, Jaqueline Lopez as our Zoom Manager, Shimona Miller as our Costumer, Mary Calden as our Props Master, and Tylar Penney, our Stage Manager. Each actor is performing from the safety of their own home via Zoom, as are the crew who are running the performances.
PB: How many registrations have you sold thus far? And what is your litmus test for success?
Clark/Lilienthal-Wynn: Ticketing is going through a service called ShowShare. We actually don't have access to information regarding how many tickets are sold; we'll find that out after the run of shows. That said, there is an 80-attendee limit for each performance. Our primary goal is to encourage our students to keep their art alive—to allow them to express themselves, and find a release for the energy that's been bound by Covid. Like the students of SLVHS, we recognize our SLV community is mourning the absence of gatherings at performance venues due to the pandemic. We believe that arts advocates and fans of our kids will enthusiastically support the creative endeavors of our thespians at SLVHS. The students' excitement is contagious: the show must go...online!
Should Covid-19 protocols remain in place, we have every intention of attempting to present a show via Zoom in the future. In fact, our San Lorenzo Valley High School Drama II class is currently in rehearsal for a 10-minute virtual play festival (scheduled to go up in February), and our San Lorenzo Valley Middle School students are in their final weeks of rehearsal for a virtual musical set to open in December. Keep your eyes peeled as we continue to provide students with opportunities to keep the arts alive... in their hearts and on our stages—virtual or live.