By Johanna Ziegler, student journalist for Minarets Press
Rehearsals once spent in a classroom filled with props, costumes, and laughs have now been shifted onto Zoom for the Minarets Drama program as it continues to rehearse the annual spring play, She Kills Monsters. Their new secret weapon? Animation.
When Minarets first announced it would be closing the school temporarily in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the spring play was merely delayed to a later performance date. Now that school has been canceled for the rest of the year, the show has taken a creative twist. Senior Emma Lynch, whose Senior Legacy Experience is to assist in directing She Kills Monsters, has helped transition the actors from in-person rehearsal to rehearsal via the video-conferencing application Zoom. “Because we can not perform the show live, we will be doing a dramatic read-through of the show in costume and from home,” explains Lynch. “We have been working a lot with the video platform Zoom and will be recording the scenes. Everything will be edited together and shared with the public as soon as possible.”
The challenge is that She Kills Monsters features many battle scenes that involve specific fight choreography that cannot be performed on Zoom. Minarets drama teacher Kayla West, however, is not deterred by this obstacle. “We have teamed up with the Minarets Animation Club to help fill in for the fight scenes that were planned,” says West. “However, animation and editing everything still takes time. We still need to get costumes and green screens to each of our actors.” As these supplies are being assembled, students like senior Kira Huff and freshman Abigail Cambell have volunteered to animate the numerous fight scenes incorporated throughout the script. These animated scenes will then be pieced together along with the other recorded scenes to create the final product. Actors’ voices will also be dubbed over each animated segment so the film still has a sense of continuity. While other school programs like Minarets Media have produced content by student animators before, this will be the first time Minarets Drama will do so, making this recorded version of the play all the more unique and unprecedented.
Cast members rehearsing Act 1 of “She Kills Monsters” on Zoom
As for the Zoom rehearsals, not all bad has come from this new quarantine-friendly method. Lynch explains that now that there aren’t as many scheduling complications and issues in coordinating students’ rides, rehearsals are easier to run. But more than that, Lynch adds, “Being away from these people has been very difficult and so getting to see their faces and hear their voices at rehearsal is really good for everyone.”
Senior Rebecca Townsend who plays one of the lead characters, Agnes Evans, sees the Zoom rehearsals in a positive light as well, saying, “Being online has presented some setbacks…[but] it has made us stronger. I believe that the cast has put forth more effort into the performance.” Townsend did add, however, “This is a whole different type of acting. I feel like I’m performing in a movie. Without a live audience, everything feels different.”
Townsend encourages Minarets friends and family to watch the final product once it is released to keep up the drama program’s morale and celebrate a successful show despite less than perfect conditions. “We have an amazing group of dedicated actors and actresses,” Townsend affirms. “Costumes, backdrops, and props will be included. The performance may be online, but it will still look, sound, and feel the same, along with some fun surprises!”
As of now, there is no set release date for the recorded version of She Kills Monsters. The directors expect it to be completed and ready for public viewing by late May.