Preparations for Road Show during the coronavirus
March 14, 2021
Road show preparations and practices for the 2020-2021 school year, following auditions in early March, will kick off as soon as students return from spring break. This year’s Road Show performances will be different from previous years, now that staff and performers are forced to tackle restrictions due to the coronavirus.
Technical Director, Holden Fershee, informs that Road Show will be streamed live on video this year because the audience will not be in person in the auditorium to watch the acts. No one will be in the house this time around except stage workers. There will also be no admission fee.
The acts have changed too. Normally acts would be separated into four groups to rehearse and practice in different blocks. Now the acts will be separated into two groups, turning what is usually a two hour show into just one hour.
Striv equipment, used to broadcast school athletic games, will be used in the production. Some Striv workers have joined roadshow crew like, Cecilia Zahm, who will be switching between different shots on camera for the performance. “They’ve never recorded it like this before…they’ve never even filmed it while there was an audience, so we are just kind of making it up as we go. It’s kind of new to everyone”
Everyone will talk through headsets, which is usually standard, to avoid close interaction. Zahm explains that she’s heard that there will be designated days for each practice group. “They can’t mingle to my understanding .”
Sam Eckler is the Stage Manager for the show this year. “My job is to make sure the show goes as smoothly as possible on the technical side, I’ll be practicing transitions with the stage crew and figuring out where certain stage items will be placed. I’ll also check up on all the crews and their needs for the show.” During the night of the show, Eckler will be behind the scenes giving out cues for scenery and other technical aspects to move for the next performance and take things off stage when they aren’t necessary.
Eckler says that in order to keep germs from spreading, everything is sanitized and assigned to certain people. These items are things like walkie-talkies and other sound systems. He also says that mask wearing is important. “We are trying to make sure we are doing this as safe and secure as we can, while also having fun.”
Even though the show this year will be live streamed without an audience for the safety of others, the fun of the show will still be kept alive with MC’s who will lead the shows as hosts.
Assistance Stage Director Mikaela Estelle will be helping the Director and Stage Manager in any way she can for this production. “I make sure the performers are ready and prepared while also helping make some decisions and problem solve. I help out the tech crew by cleaning, preparing, organizing and anything else I can do. Basically my job is making sure everything runs smoothly and everything is organized.”
Estelle works mostly with the Stage Manager, the Director and the performers. She imagines she will have to remind people to follow Covid precautions, which means a lot more redirecting. She also expects that she will probably have to lend a few more helping hands and do a lot more problem-solving, because attendance might worsen and there will be less crew members than last year.
Because practices will not start for the production until the end of spring break, the staff doesn’t know exactly what problems they will face as of yet.
“I don’t know exactly what struggles [we will face], but I know that if any problem appears,” Estelle said, “[anyone] will be able to rely on any member of the tech crew to help find a solution. We have always worked as a team and will work harder especially during these times.”