By Maddie Iller
One year ago, the cast of Mary Poppins heard the shocking news that their hard work over the winter months might go to waste since the school wasn’t allowed to put on the show for the public. In the theater world, the saying “the show must go on” is well known, and it came into play last year, as the cast was able to perform for the school and on film. It was a sad and difficult time for the fans of the show and the cast who had put in so much effort.
A musical this year was almost out of the question and many assumed the production would be canceled. However, Mrs. Maclver, the director of the musicals for the last nine years, decided to continue. Choosing a simple play to make memorizing easy and to have it be possible to social distance, she selected “Honk!” the musical. Having auditions before February break, it was seen that the cast had lost a lot of its original members from last year since many were in the Class of 2020.
This conundrum brings pros and cons to the situation. With fewer cast members, the actors have to balance at least two roles each, bringing new challenges of memorizing and blocking. Julia Marks, a sophomore agrees, “Although there are more complications this year, we have become closer as a cast, we try our best to perform safely together.” Another advantage of a smaller cast allows the new students to become rising stars, proving how underclassmen are dominating the stage. Junior Keith Anne Maynard has participated in multiple performances before but now debuts as a main character, along with many others. Freshman Chloe Girvin has taken on her first role as part of the High School musicals, as the Ugly Duckling. With many Dreamland performances in the past, Girvin was more than ready for the experience and left the directors in tears after singing in one of the first rehearsals. Although having a delayed start, the cast still holds the same momentum and energy in years past.
There will be many changes to this year’s performance, including filming the play instead of presenting it to a live audience. There will be no huge dance numbers or large choreography, because of social distancing, but the cast has been toying with the idea of using singing masks while performing. Natalie Mack, a sophomore participating in the musical this year gave her opinion on the new changes: “This year’s musical is drastically different from last year when I was a freshman. The cast is small, the performance won’t be live, and a couple of my classmates are virtual. However, what hasn’t changed is the magic and music we make together as a cast. We still laugh, sing, act, and share our love for theater and performing together. Although it’s upsetting we won’t be doing the entire production, I am thankful to be able to get in costume and film a staged reading of the musical with some of the most talented people at Nantucket High School.”
Erin Maclver and Laine Cutts have taken each precaution seriously and have fought to be allowed a musical performance this year. Mack talks about the COVID changes, “In terms of COVID safety during rehearsals, I think that has been going very well. Originally, this production was going to be fully virtual for all, as we were not able to sing in the school building until just a few weeks ago when that protocol was lifted. Now, that we are able to sing, we can be together on the stage, which is amazing. During rehearsals, our pianist, director, assistant directors, and castmates are fully masked all the time. We are proper, 10 feet apart when we sing and nobody is touching each other since we are doing a staged reading. I feel very safe during rehearsals.” Although music teachers’ efforts may have gone unnoticed by many, they certainly haven’t to the cast and everyone participating; this year is truly learning new territory and perseverance to make sure the show goes on.