The Fall Play Takes Center Stage

How this year’s play took the stage navigating through the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Austin Lincoln, Reporter

From the start, theatrical performances have always had a live aspect. The same goes for UDJ fall plays. This live aspect has been pursued relentlessly. This year, in Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol, the fall play took the stage in a unique way.

Whether it was an in-person play or your favorite musical, it’s always a wonder to think of the time and effort that cast and crew members had to contribute to such a performance. However, with the pandemic, compromises had to be made for a successful show. No other year required so much from the cast and crew, especially because the fall play turned digital for the first time in its 25 years.

Getting started wasn’t easy: “When we found out this summer we couldn’t have an in-person play as we wanted,” said Alexander Davidson, one of the two directors of the play, “Mr. Manwell and I were crushed. However, we had an awesome cast and crew this fall to put on an amazing show that is still bringing in compliments.” But, in the end, and in combination with the creativity of the cast, crew, and directors, the fall play was able to pull its curtain to the digital stage through editing together multiple pre-recorded Zoom Video Meeting performances.

Although to the naked eye, this brand new approach to the fall play may have been tough to pull off, it came with quite a few advantages. For example, the cast felt less stressed during rehearsals in the comfort of their own homes, and with the power of editing, the fall play was made to be flawless in quality. Even Davidson agrees: “As an editor, I picked the best of the best shots and pieced together a great recording of the performance. Unlike live theater, there was no fingernail biting in the light booth wondering if someone was going to miss an entrance or skip a line.” This year’s fall play was truly a blessing to the entire school’s spirit and vitality.

However, for every sunny sky, there’s a wicked storm. The fall play wasn’t an easy thing to pull off; the cast and crew had to power through technical difficulties, and countless hours were spent perfecting every minute detail in the performance and editing. Also, due to the social aspect of the club in a decline, some strong traditions of the community had to go: “I did miss the strong camaraderie that the students build during practices and technical rehearsals backstage and in the wings,” says Davidson, “It must have been weird for those new to our program, and I’m sure returning students missed some of their traditions.” Nonetheless, the multiple sacrifices that the whole club put into their performances outweighed the struggles that this year placed upon us.

With the show still receiving compliments here and there, it’s a wonder in the world of theatre as to how a simple art form can touch so many lives. Although things might have been different this year for the fall play, they still managed to power through the pandemic, all while breaking a leg, in a way, unlike any performance. As the fall play comes to a close, Davidson exclaims his true thoughts: “I’m just as proud of this show as shows in previous years because we overcame the obstacles and still put on a high caliber performance by anyone’s standards, quarantine or not.”  It can be truly said that the fall play is willing to set down in stone their imprint upon the school’s community and prove that they are willing to never give up.