While Percy must fight off minotaurs, math teachers, and monsters, he doesn’t have to deal with the coronavirus, but our cast does! It has impacted the way we have run our rehearsal process and the production itself. Safety first for all of us at Camp Half-blood.
First and foremost, it is incredible that we are producing live theatre. The absence of performing arts during the pandemic was heartbreaking and seeing it coming back to the Nashville community is so exciting, especially since we get to be a part of it!
As an artist during this time, life has looked very different. When the initial quarantine happened, the harsh realization of theatre being put on hold was hard, but the world also experienced how meaningful and needed theatre truly is. I was personally heartbroken to be away from the stage. Last year was a middle ground of virtual and socially distanced performances. But here we are, back on stage, connecting with each other, and telling a story. We are not taking it for granted.
To return to the stage, a lot of behind-the-scenes work has been happening. Since we are all Belmont students, many of our protocols come directly from our university. In rehearsal, we are all required to wear masks. While this is the new normal, singing in a mask is a little more difficult than you might think and has had a positive outcome, vocal strength. Surprisingly, learning to sing with a mask on does make it easier to sing when it finally comes off!
Wearing the mask has also required us to think about physicality. As actors we often default to telling the entire story with our face, which is great, but your face is supported by a body that has a huge range of motions. Having our faces covered in rehearsals has encouraged us to use our whole self to get our story across.
This week, our entire cast was tested for COVID in preparation for tech week and opening. We can’t wait to remove our masks, show our faces, and take the stage. With our entire cast testing negative, we are ready for this step! Every member of our cast is thrilled for this experience. We recognize that the world is struggling, we have faced obstacles, and much has changed. Still, we are onstage – we are safely creating art – and we are grateful for every moment and allowing you to be part of it.