The show must go on! Carlmont Drama presents a virtual play


Rinne & Peterson, Inc. Structural Engineers

The Carlmont Drama Department’s spring play will be presented virtually this upcoming month.

Live theater is an inherently fickle medium. Anything could go wrong: technical difficulties, costume mishaps, forgotten lines — but whatever obstacles present themselves, the show must always go on.

Perseverance is within the fabric of live theater, and not even a pandemic is enough to stop the Carlmont drama department from safely sharing their art.

The 2021 spring play, Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, will be live-streamed on Zoom on Friday, April 30, Saturday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 2 at 4:00 p.m.

“I hope that the Carlmont community will support drama department productions,” said Carlmont drama director Nancy Martins. “We have been working hard to keep the performing arts alive during a time when all live theater across the country has been halted because of [COVID-19].”

This upcoming play is the Carlmont drama troupe’s first virtual production. The handling of tech, sets, lighting, and other aspects will vastly differ from past shows, but this is no hurdle the cast and crew can’t leap over.

“They’re going forward with running those show over Zoom, which is really interesting and different and hard to do,” said Sebastian Della Gatta, a member of the Carlmont Technical Theater Association (CTTA) and the sole runner of all technical aspects of the spring play. “Normally there would be one person running lights, one person running sound, around five to 10 people on stage, and a bunch of people backstage. With online, all of that is condensed into one person.”

Gatta also stressed the added responsibility the new format puts on the performers.

“A lot of it is now on the cast members themselves, and all I have to do is make sure that the backgrounds are right and that people are visible when they’re supposed to be visible. It’s completely new territory to everyone,” Gatta said.

The show itself is an Italian metatheatre work written in 1921. Twelve talented Carlmont actors will bring the narrative, an exploration of the mysteries of life and the relationship between illusion and reality, to life.

Six Characters in Search of an Author is an absurd play that explores what it means to be alive,” said Alexandra Gische, a co-director and cast member of the play. “You’re going to be confused through the whole thing and into the end, but in a really fascinating way. It does what absurd theory does in making you think about life.”

Though some changes must be made with sound and lighting due to the inability to host an in-person performance, Gische is very satisfied with what they have been able to create.

“Normally, it would be in a theater, and you’d have different special effects with lighting and sound, and we are doing that very differently with the Zoom effects,” Gische said. “I think we’re doing it very well; you will see a lot of cool things happening there.”

Martins shares similar sentiments and is quite pleased with the quality of acting displayed in the production.

“Even though our spring performances will be viewed on a screen, the characters are still well developed, colorful, and convincing,” Martins said. 

The art of theater is a crucial form of self-expression and a passion for Carlmont actors. Though there have been obstacles to face, those involved have found the process meaningful and fun amidst the chaos of COVID-19.

“It is our way of expressing ourselves in the same way people do sports and extracurriculars. It’s how we keep ourselves sane outside of school,” said Gische. “It’s something that we so deeply care about, and it’s so important to each of our lives. We want to share it.

We want people to understand that this is what we do, this is what we love, and we want people to experience it and enjoy it as much as we do.”

— Alexandra Gische

Drama Department members encourage the community to support them and keep the performing arts at Carlmont alive by buying tickets and attending shows.

“It helps the Drama Department grow when you buy tickets. It helps us get new set pieces, costumes, props, all of that; the rights to scripts also cost money. We’re able to put on bigger and better shows.” said Matias Pollan, a senior and cast member. “Any little thing, like coming and seeing a virtual show, is very important because it shows that people still care.”

Besides showing support for the actors involved, actors stress the necessity and value of watching the productions. In a time where entertainment and live productions are not easily enjoyed, the production can be a way to experience the arts from afar.

“Entertainment, and the arts, in general, are something that human beings need,” Pollan said. “Right now, it’s not very easy to have live art, and going and showing your support for the people who are doing this virtually, and just toughing it out, shows that there’s still an audience and that we still matter.”

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