Drama group set to perform three short plays

The drama group is putting on three short plays on Dec. 11 and 12, titled “Drugs are Bad,” “The Internet is a Distraction—Oh Look A Kitten!” and “Our Place.” Directed by Michelle Rathe, each play features its own set of characters made up of high school performers.
One of those performers is junior Christian Becker, playing the role of Jake in “Our Place.” “This is a really fun character to play because he is a player that is on a date and runs into his ex, which makes for an interesting time. I am also involved with the tech crew in the booth, which is also highly recommended to anyone that is interested,” Becker said. 

Junior Emma DeGroote plays the mother in “Drugs are Bad” and the role of Taylor in the “The Internet is a Distraction.” “My favorite part about my part as the mother is the melodramatic tendencies of the character, which is a lot of fun to play. My favorite part about Taylor is just her goofiness; I get the opportunity to play around and act crazy,” DeGroote said. 

While most theaters are halted due to COVID, the drama team at Cedar Falls has developed protocols that will allow them to still perform. Precautions include having all performers wearing face shields and limiting audience members to two people per performer. Audience members will also be socially distanced and in pod seating.
Even though COVID hasn’t stopped them from performing, the actors did face issues when positive cases emerged among the cast. For DeGroote, this has made rehearsals more difficult. “Our main obstacle has definitely been adapting to COVID regulations and absences. We have had a lot of people gone due to quarantining, and the conditions under which we can practice are altered from last year,” DeGroote said. “Things like acting with masks on and distancing from others make the process harder, but definitely not impossible.”

Becker agreed that while COVID presented obstacles, it wasn’t going to stop them from finding a way to perform. “There have been some COVID scares as we are around each other a lot. This at one point resulted in a shutdown or ‘going dark’ of the theater program so that our cast and crew members could complete their quarantine. However, with all of this, I am still confident that we will have a great show,” Becker said. “The people involved with these shows have done an exceptional job picking up right where we left off making this show even better than anyone could have imagined.”

Despite COVID scares and a prolonged rehearsal process, both Becker and DeGroote say these experiences have made them grow closer as a cast and feel a greater sense of importance when it comes to continuing their craft during the pandemic. 

DeGroote said that rehearsals, although somewhat restricted by COVID, are still great bonding experiences for the students. “My favorite parts of rehearsals are overwhelmingly just working with the cast, crew and directors. There are so many moments in all of the shows that make me laugh every time I see them, and watching them be developed is such an awesome process,” DeGroote said. “It is so rewarding to see something a group of people worked so hard on develop into a show that everyone is proud of.”

Becker echoed similar sentiments, and said that he enjoys watching the show develop over the rehearsal process. “One of my favorite parts of shows is being able to watch the shows progress the actors make from following the script to making it their own. This has resulted in some very entertaining ad-libs or flubs from actors as the show develops and grows,” Becker said. “Rehearsals typically start with some hang out and social time backstage while eating some snacks provided by a cast or crew member. After a little of that, we get started with a run of the shows. We then get feedback from the directors and run the scenes that got feedback to work on.”

With rehearsals coming to a close and the actors getting ready to share their four months of hard work with audiences, DeGroote said that all the students in theater have come to appreciate each other, especially due to the pandemic. “Practice has been very on and off due to covid, but everyone has a great work ethic and is willing to adapt. I am so proud of the casts for putting in their best effort and not getting frustrated in these chaotic times,” DeGroote said. “I really enjoy doing theater because of the bonds that we form. I’ve never been part of a cast where I haven’t made a few new friends. Working with people that you love is so rewarding, and I’m so grateful it’s something I can take part in.”

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