After three years of performing in plays at Golden High School, Sophia Davis wasn't sure how her high school acting career would end. “This year unfortunately we had a couple of performances in the …
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After three years of performing in plays at Golden High School, Sophia Davis wasn't sure how her high school acting career would end.
“This year unfortunately we had a couple of performances in the fall and winter but they were super limited because they were one-acts which means a really small cast doing a really small performance,” said Davis. “So we hadn't had the chance to do anything big this year.”
She became even more discouraged in mid-January, when she and other theater students started making plans to do a spring musical only to be told by the administration that the show that COVID-19 cases remained too high for the show to be able to go on. The students, however, refused to back down so easily.
“Most of us were pretty upset by that and we pushed really hard,” she said. “And thank god we have a bunch of adults who support us and we got our musical.”
Still, Davis said the process of bringing “Beauty and the Beast”, which was performed April 29 to May 1, to the stage was unlike anything she had been part of in her other years.
For one, the students only had eight weeks to put on the musical rather than the typical 12.
For another, they had to deal with a variety of COVID-19-related challenges, including leading cast members who had to quarantine for multiple weeks at a time and one who had to be replaced by an understudy for some of the performances after he tested positive for the virus.
“We had to get an understudy and he worked really hard learning all the lines and everything in only a couple of weeks,” said Davis, who played the lead role of Belle.
It was all challenging enough that stage manager Anna Seibert often wondered whether the group would even end up being able to perform the show at all.
“There were times where I was really scared that we were going to get shut down whether it was just the theater or the whole school getting shut down again,” she said. “So that was definitely a big stressor for everyone but we made it.”
But while the process of putting together the show was certainly unique, the finished show, which featured colorful costumes and elaborate sets and plenty of cast members dancing on-stage during “Be Our Guest” would've felt almost normal if not for the cloth masks on all of the performers faces.
“We've kind of all learned how to just work around it and deal with it,” Davis. “It's definitely an inhibitor to us but we just pushed past it because we wanted this to happen so badly.”
Still, Davis said the masks were a topic of frustration, particularly since some spring sports were allowed to be played without masks.
“I understand there is a difference between playing a sport and doing a musical but were still running around dancing and singing and that takes so much breath and energy and so that is a challenge and I wish we didn't have to, especially when half of us have our full COVID-19 vaccines,” she said.
But despite those challenges, both Davis and Seibert both said every one on the production was extremely thankful to not only be able to perform the show but do so before an audience.
Davis said she believes Golden was the only school in the district that went forward with having an audience for its show (which was capped at 150 people to allow for social distancing). Other schools, including Lakewood, live streamed their performances instead.
“Our administration saw how much we really needed something like this with how unusual and terrible this year really has been,” she said. “And so they wanted to make sure we could have an audience because a part of theater is definitely getting that applause at the end and the laughter from the audience is a big part of the show so we really needed that.”
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