Mamma Mia!, and how it was still able to run amidst a pandemic.
Staff Photo- Maia Siden
Members of this years "Mama Mia!" musical take their final bow.
The spring musical at WInnacunnet ran from May 21 to 23, and while COVID-19 caused many things to change for the cast and crew, they were fortunate and excited to be able to perform live.
“The biggest change was having to adjust to all the protocols,” Director Patrick Moore said.
Safety protocols during rehearsals included staying at a 3 to 6 feet distance from one another, temperature checks, and a health attestation form for students who don’t come into the school during the day.
“For the singing rehearsals we have specifically spread out seats we have to sit in,” junior Adam Cico said. “You have to be six feet apart.”
Another tough change was adjusting to singing with a mask.
“It’s different to be wearing a mask because it’s harder to see peoples faces and I always think of acting is reacting, and I build off of other people and my energy comes off of other people,” freshman Shea O’Keefe said. “So, when you're not able to see other people’s faces, it’s hard to learn your cue and build off of them.”
To adjust, some cast members had specific masks made for performances.
“I bought them singers’ masks, which takes the cloth away from their face, so a lot of them used them for the show. That’s been helpful,” Moore said.
These masks made it easier for some singers, but still present challenges.
“Personally I've gotten pretty used to having my mask on all day, but for singing it definitely makes it more difficult to sing high notes,” Cico said.
In a typical year, students would be interacting more closely on stage, including kissing, but the performers this year were all required to distance throughout the play.
Distancing protocols and a maximum of 12 people on stage at one time caused Moore to have to carefully plan out rehearsal time.
“I had to be more organized about how I run rehearsals and run the schedules,” Moore said. “I think going forward, that is something that will help me keep organized as we go forward.”
Choreographer Christa D’Amico had to adjust her dance members to follow protocols, such as fewer students on stage.
“Typically for numbers that include the ensemble, I would use everyone,” said D’Amico, “but we weren't able to do that this year. I tried to be fair and give every ensemble member at least three numbers. ”
In a “normal year,” D’Amico would have close contact numbers which this year she wasn't able to do.
“I would normally have partner work, as well as people being lifted,” D’Amico said. “This year I couldn't do that.”
D”Amico, though, found ways to fix this change.
“I asked for extra props to fill in places where people would have been touching, such as a shawl or fishing line,” Damico said.
Throughout all these difficult changes for students, they have been able to learn and adapt from them.
“It’s definitely been good to learn to adapt to different scenarios, not even necessarily for the play, this year everyone has had to adapt and change,” Cico said.
“I’ve learned how to work as a team and how to work with an ensemble I didn’t previously know. For shows I’ve done in the past I have known most people so it’s been great to be able to meet new people,” O’Keefe said.
Teachers also noticed how hardworking and overall positive the students have been.
“I think because of covid and all it has taken away from us, I think students are more appreciative that we have been able to do a show. So I think they have worked harder and been more positive,” Moore said.
D’Amico felt the same.
“The kids were so resilient,'' D'Amico said. “They were happy with whatever they could get and they worked with stride.”