The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

New Life, New Theater

The theater has always been something that makes people feel alive. The audience can feel all of the complex emotions. The spectators live through conflicts alongside the actors. Before quarantine started, people were enjoying performances and were flowing with actors in a special vibe that the theater world created. However, the arts have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young actors of Sage Creek are keeping a distance of six feet and wearing masks. They are happy and excited to have an opportunity to meet in person again and practice for their next performance: Pride and Prejudice. The theater students are trying their best to put on a show this year.

 “Right now we just got approval to have a fourteen-person artwork for Pride and Prejudice. We don’t know when we are going to be able to perform it. Hopefully, we will perform but if not [we will] probably record it and it’ll be able to be accessed by a lot of people,” junior Lucas Stapleton said, who is in theater 3.

Theater students of Sage gather for the first time in seven month to practice their plays. Participants of the theater class keep six feet apart and wear clear masks. (Photo Courtesy of Emma Belnap)

However, there is still a screen barrier between them that creates new challenges. 

“It makes things impersonal and gives us coldness and makes it difficult for a lot of us [since we do not have]the chemistry [and] energy that we have face-to-face,” Stapleton said. 

Learning how to act on an online “platform” sometimes stresses out members of the theater class.

 “Trying to convey total realness [of] emotions and chemistry through the screen [is hard] it’s a lot easier if you’re in person. There’s a lot of stress to try and make it seem as realistic as possible and to try [to] forget everything that’s happening,” shared senior Hannah Katz who is also enrolled in theater 3.

As Stapleton and Katz shared before, it seems like it’s really important for performers to have a live audience.  

“We have to picture the other people’s presence to get through it. A lot of us believe there’s an audience to give us a boost. Performers, especially myself, utilize the audience and that’s what gets us going. Without that, it’s been rough but we are figuring out ways around it and we’re learning to adapt to not have an audience around us,” Stapleton said. 

 “I think a lot of languages are universal and despite the lack of personal interaction we’re still able to touch one another through the screen, we’re able to get emotions across. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job and our teacher has been doing a wonderful job at keeping us in high morale throughout this hard time,” Stapleton stated.

“As theater people, we’re a little bit expressive already, especially our teacher Miss Porter. She is really expressive. When we first saw her we could see genuine excitement.” Katz added.

All in all, there is the opposite side of the coin. In some ways, online learning might even be helpful for students in the theater class.

Theater students of Sage gathered in Sage campus to practice Pride and Prejudice play. They keep 6 feet apart and wear masks. (Photo Courtesy of Emma Belnap)

”[Theater students]  have a hard time with stage fright and stuff like that [but] by having this ability to do multiple takes to say ‘okay I can start over,’  I feel like that’s made it a bit easier,“ Stapleton said.

 “I was able to practice things right away, we’re also able to be in the comfort of our home, which helps some people. A lot of us when doing our performances or auditioning for something  it makes it a lot easier to be able to send a recording instead of doing it live because if you mess up you can just do it again and make it your best take.”  Katz said.

Online learning can make education more enjoyable and creative.

 “There are some moments where I’m excited to see what students come up with because online learning really challenges creativity. This [change] helped me as an educator to figure out new ways of teaching,” Mrs. Porter-Eshelman, the theater teacher at Sage Creek stated. 

The Theater class is getting through this mess due to the strength of the theater community at SCHS.

“[It’s important] to establish a sense of community in the classroom, especially in virtual [classes]. We did a lot of work on team building in [the] classroom.” Mrs. Porter-Eshelman shares.

Katz agreed, “By doing a show together we really [got] to know everyone. I think we already had a strong community built and we already had a lot of friends and a lot of strong relationships with everyone and so it kind of just seemed [like] we [were] getting together. We got a little bit of time to talk and complement each other and build a strong community and it helps us.” 

Through all the uncertainty Mrs. Porter Eshelman has one focus.

“Sometimes I have to keep the class not right and easy but just to keep it welcoming.”

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