Falcon Players hold fall play online


Angela Colombo, Of The Talon staff

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s production of the fall play Clue, was both practiced and produced using a fully virtual format.

The play was streamed Nov. 5-7 using the online streaming service Broadway On Demand, which allows audience members to view the recording after purchasing tickets virtually. Since cast members were unable to meet in person to rehearse the show, senior Ethan Elder said that practices were held virtually via Zoom where, instead of blocking their movements, actors were tasked with ‘looking’ in the direction that their castmates appeared on screen.

“Rehearsals were set up over Zoom. Instead of learning where we would walk or stand, we would learn where we would look. Depending on where our screen was placed in the Zoom, we would have to look in different directions to ‘look at’ our fellow actors,” Elder said.

The online formatting of rehearsals created a variety of both technical and nontechnical problems for cast members and technical team members alike. Junior Sarah Koenig said poor connection and barking dogs were a few common difficulties that were faced throughout the process of rehearsing and recording the show.

“A lot of times people’s connection would cut out, or people’s lines would be cut off because of the way Zoom cuts sound. A lot of the time, props were difficult as well and knowing where and when to pass them off. Also, it’s not a technical error, but a lot of people’s dogs would bark during the show which only prolonged the process,” Koenig said.

In addition to the cast, members of the tech crew also faced difficulties surrounding the virtual format. Junior Priya Halder, who was part of the costume crew, said that tech was able to meet at some points in-person but were unable to meet with actors, leaving some technical details down to crewmates.

“We were actually allowed to meet in-person. In costume crew, the head member assigned each of us characters to dress, then we went into the costume shop on four different days total to pick out our characters’ costumes, with two to four people going each day. Actors were supposed to give us their measurements in the first few weeks of rehearsal, but we never received them, so we had to do a little bit of guesswork as to what everyone looked like, since there were some actors that were new to theatre,” Halder said.

The online format of the performance also created the question of how backgrounds and sets would be produced and what exactly they would look like. Koenig said that to account for this, actors were sent home with kits that contained all necessary props, costumes, and set pieces that actors would use to create the effect of being onstage.

“Some of our technical crew got together to build take home kits for actors which included all of our props, costumes, and the backdrop for our set. Out ‘sets’ are PVC pipes and fittings that interlock to create a base for the backdrops to drape over,” Koenig said.

After their first few weeks of rehearsals and working around newly arising challenges, cast and crew members worked to finalize the show and upload pre-recorded versions to the streaming platform. Halder said that the final weeks before the opening night were used to record snippets of scenes and edit together the final product.

“In the end, the play was recorded in chunks over a span of about a week over Zoom, then two tech members each edited half the play with lighting and sound effects, then the theatre director finished it off with the final edits,” Halder said.

The end production was aired several days following the finishing edits with a final run time of two hours. With the play and rehearsals coming to a close, Elder said that the experience was a unique one, but felt that the cast and crew had missed out on part of the in-person experience of performing live and onstage.

“My least favorite part of doing an online show was the lack of cast and crew interaction. One of my favorite things about theatre is the friendships and memories that I make with my fellow cast and crew. This aspect of theatre was almost removed for this show, as we never got to see each other in person.  I also really missed our set-build rehearsals, as they really showed how well the show was coming together and created a lot of excitement among the cast and crew. Those days leading up to the final production are some of the most stressful, but exciting days for an actor,” Elder said.