Drama Class… But Over Zoom


Mei Dotzler, Contributor

Lots of changes have taken center stage in the Drama department this year. For starters, students no longer have to try and figure out how to pronounce Ms. Rossmeissl anymore because she’s changed her last name to something way simpler – Strong.  As in “Let’s stay strong and try to get through this school year.” As in  – she did something romantic over this quarantine and got married.

Second of all, instead of having daily rehearsals with numerous props, and the anticipation of ‘Show Day,’ the theater class will have to resort to using Zoom for their performances. With this arises a lot of questions.

Ms. Strong is going on her 5th year as the Sahuaro drama teacher and has found new ways to navigate her class through this pandemic. In her advanced class, she has assigned the theme “A Cure For A Virus,” and students must create skits revolving around that, which so far, sounds to be going pretty well. She allows the students to go into their breakout rooms to practice, and on performance days, everyone will join the main Zoom meeting to perform in front of the class. Ms. Strong states, “This is a new and interesting experience and I myself am still figuring out the glitches, but for the most part, everyone is doing really well and understands the new obstacles we face.”

With this comes a lot of trial and error. “Right now I’m using these skits as a way to learn what areas I need to work on with this online transition, so having the classes do small performances right now is very beneficial.” Ms. Strong and her students have been innovative with their new ways of screen editing, like using computer effects or throwing a pen off screen and another student pretending to catch it. “We’ve learned things like getting up and moving around, which makes for an interesting scene than just sitting and reading from the script.”

Blessing Onya, a junior in the advanced class, says,”This is definitely a new experience, and it’s going to be challenging… What if someone’s mic goes out or computer shuts down during a show? How will we all talk at once?,” Blessing voiced her concerns about the upcoming skit. “However, there is a lot of participation from the class because Ms. Strong is very persistent about that. Once we go into our breakout rooms, we share our ideas with each other, but it’s difficult with the limited technology everyone has. Some people aren’t able to share screens, which makes it even harder to plan out our ideas.” Among the many concerns, Blessing remains optimistic that this year will be a success, “This will be challenging for everyone, but nonetheless, it will still be fun.”

Despite the obstacles, “The show must go on!” Ms. Strong exclaims to students to keep them motivated. This will be a learning experience for everyone, and the concept of teamwork is crucial in a time like this. Make sure to keep an eye out for when they do their first online production; it will be a memorable one.