Rebuilding: Drama Department

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Katie Cassidy has been the theatre director here at Sentinel for 15 years. Every year she has been in this position there has been at least one play with the exception of last year. Due to the differences in the past few years, I asked her how she planned on rebuilding as we attempt to recover from COVID. Cassidy explained that she’s, “trying to generate excitement in theatre classes about the after school program.” This year, Mrs. Cassidy plans on bringing Drama Club back as something the school can promote. She is currently planning this year’s first show: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Drama Club and the play are both available to the entire student body, whether they’re in a theatre class or not. Thus far, this plan seems to be working. Thursday, September 16th was the first drama club meeting and it had a very good turnout. Drama Club will continue to meet every Thursday during lunch in the theatre. As of now, Mrs. Cassidy’s plan in regard to precautions at the play is “that the performers on stage would not have to wear masks – if that was a requirement we would figure it out –  and the audience will be limited and have to be masked, we wouldn’t be able to sell tickets for every seat, we would be limited to half capacity. The prefromers and technicians should definitely be able to have their family come see.”

Beyond Mrs. Cassidy, I also spoke with a few students: Tadashi Peltier (junior), Rihanna Smith (sophomore), Joy Johnson (sophomore), and Astrid Marble (sophomore). Rihanna said that COVID almost kept her out of theatre entirely before she “realized that [she]  should just do it and not let COVID affect what [she] do[es].” Tadashi felt that he was “disadvantaged as an actor and student. It also impacted friendships within the group and the normal community work [they] would do, like the Halloween Food Drive.” Tadashi’s points seem to be something with which many people  agree; however, this year seems to be off to a more normal start with Drama Club. Joy and Astrid both expressed disappointment in the lack of plays last year. Joy said that, “[she] still loved it a whole lot! Last year [she] felt comfortable and happy with the class (Theatre 1), even without the plays, but now that [they] finally get to put on the productions and do more with the clubs and plays it’s gotten [her] even more excited!” COVID has put a strain on theatre as a whole as well as an individual level, which may be hard to come back from, but with Mrs. Cassidy heading it, things are looking up. Drama Club is planning on having weekly meetings every Thursday at lunch. Auditions for the first school play in two years are being held September 22nd and 23rd after school. It will be an exciting year and hopefully bring some normalcy back into the student body’s life.