Scenes from Lowell: A Delightful Quarantine Edition

Live theater is hard to come by nowadays, but Lowell residents had a chance to take in a show this past weekend. Lowell High School students performed “A Delightful Quarantine” for audiences on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Director Heidi Kolp says she selected this play before the COVID-19 shutdown began. Although it wasn’t intentional, it’s hard to think of a more fitting performance for 2020.

However, there is no global pandemic in the play. The story focuses on residents of a small town who must stay indoors for three days while aliens are outside collecting soil samples or doing whatever it is that aliens do.

Here’s a look back at the performance.

Safety was paramount, and a screen above the stage reminded audience members of the precautions to take.

Every other row was taped off as a quarantine row, and ticket sales were limited to 20% of capacity at the Lowell Performing Arts Center.

“A Delightful Quarantine” broke new ground for Lowell High School as the first theatrical performance to be livestreamed to home audiences. Evelyn Fleszar, shown here, was one of the students manning the cameras.

As the in-person audience filtered into the auditorium, they were greeted by crew members wearing hazmat suits.


Then, it was showtime.

Emergency lights sounded, hazmat workers rushed up to the stage and Professor Lucy Fuller walked out to bring the audience up to speed on the recent spate of alien invasions around the world. The good professor herself had been caught up in the quarantine when aliens arrived in central Pennsylvania, and she had spent her time working on a massive volume of work outlining the episode. When her class (that would be us, the audience) refused to be dismissed, Professor Fuller then went on to explain more about the happenings around town during the three-day quarantine.

There were strong performances from the entire cast, and it was easy to forget you were watching high school students perform. There were many standouts, but special mention goes to Sierra Hieshetter who played the role of Professor Lucy Fuller. From her opening monologue to encouraging us to stay six feet apart during intermission, she was always energetic and in character. Shown above, Hieshetter kicked off the second act by performing a radio broadcast that led into a musical number.

The majority of the play was spent peeking in on how the various townspeople handled the unexpected quarantine. Their situations ranged from the absurd — a man stuck in quarantine with a woman and her 14 cats — to the serious, such as a sister who wanted her non-believing brother to pray for her after she received a cancer diagnosis.

While mainly a comedy, the play didn’t shy away from some serious and adult themes. However, in some of the production’s lighter moments, Karina Peplinski and Hannah Fountaine played the role of friends who were trapped in the house of an elderly neighbor who was out of town. To pass the time, they tried on the neighbor’s treasure trove of clothes from a bygone era. Their scenes included a fun dance number to “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”
While actors wore masks throughout the performance, all dialogue was still clear and easy to hear. During the opening monologue, there was a reference made to townspeople having masks as protective equipment, and with masks so commonplace nowadays, they didn’t detract from the performance, in our opinion.
After the performance, cast members spread out through the hallway to greet family and friends in attendance.
Take a bow Lowell High School students! You did a fantastic job!

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