Quarantine seems to be a word of the year so it’s only fitting that the fall play at Lowell High School should be entitled “A Delightful Quarantine.” However, it isn’t a pandemic that is keeping the characters in this play indoors; it’s an alien invasion.
“I really think we could all use a laugh right now,” says Heidi Kolp, a Lowell High School English teacher and the play’s director. Kolp has directed and assisted with several high school productions and says her goal this year is to provide students with an authentic theater experience while also keeping things as normal as possible for the audience.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, some changes had to be made. The in-person audience is limited to 20% of the capacity of the high school’s Performing Arts Center, and everyone attending in person will be required to wear a mask at all times within the school. There will also be an option for audiences to livestream the performance and watch it from the comfort of home.
“A Delightful Quarantine” will run this weekend with 7pm performances on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, and a 2pm matinee on Sunday, November 8. Tickets won’t be sold at the door and should be bought in advance online at showtix4u.com/events/LPAC. Access to the livestream can also be purchased there.
Play for the Pandemic
Written by Mark Dunn, “A Delightful Quarantine” centers on a town that must be quarantined for three days after an alien invasion. The comedy follows residents as they make the best of their awkward situations.
“I picked this show because of its wit and comedy and heart,” Kolp says. “It is seriously the perfect night out and away from the stress of our current challenges.” She says the performance is suitable for most ages although there are a few PG moments. The play’s humor will probably be best appreciated by teens and adults as well as upper elementary students.
In a sign of the times, students will be performing “A Delightful Quarantine” in masks. “The cast had to really practice using their body language and tone to convey what they can’t depend on their mouth to show,” Kolp says. However, everyone quickly adapted. “To their credit, after the first minute or so, the masks sort of disappear and their talent really shines through.”
An additional challenge during rehearsals was the need for some students to go into a real quarantine themselves because of close contact to someone with COVID-19. As a result, the cast went weeks without everyone on stage at the same time. Students in quarantine connected to rehearsals via Google Meet and said their lines from home.
“It has worked very well,” Kolp says. “I couldn’t be more impressed and proud of their ability to roll with the punches this year has thrown us.” More than 30 high school students are participating as the cast and crew, and Kolp notes, “They are phenomenal and have risen to every challenge.”
Breaking New Ground with Livestream
This weekend will mark the first time that a play has been livestreamed from Lowell High School. The livestream makes the performance accessible to more people, particularly those who aren’t venturing out now because of health concerns, but it also meant overcoming some logistical challenges.
“This is the first time we have had cameras so our stage manager, Sydney Munson, is doing double duty, calling shots and theatre cues,” Kolp explains. Students Evelyn Fleszar and Abby McDonald have stepped up to run the cameras while Julia Crawford and Nate Masterson worked out how to get the camera feeds online. There was also the issue of lighting: the crew needed to determine how best to light the stage without washing out actors on the livestream.
“This has been a year for problem solving,” Kolp says. The challenges of putting on a safe production have led to outside-the-box thinking and creativity from everyone. “We aren’t worried about what we can’t do and don’t have; we are celebrating what we have and can do,” according to Kolp.
Ticket Information for “A Delightful Quarantine”
There are three show times for “A Delightful Quarantine:”
- Friday, November 6, at 7pm
- Saturday, November 7, at 7pm
- Sunday, November 8, at 7pm
A limited number of in-person tickets are available for each show, and to avoid lines and limit contact between people, tickets will not be sold at the door. Instead, people should visit ShowTix4U to buy tickets in advance. You can also scan with your phone the QR code shown here to buy tickets.
Tickets are $10 apiece and access to the livestream also starts at $10. To watch the livestream, the at-home audience will only have to click a link on the ShowTix4U site. Those attending in person will be spread out across the auditorium and no concessions will be available.
Despite the changes, Kolp anticipates that once the audience is seated and the house lights dim, everyone will be able to forget about the current pandemic as they enjoy a quarantine that is delightfully different than the ones we’ve become accustomed to in 2020.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page for the performance.