Live theatre comes to your Nelson backyard

LVR drama student Emerald Lockhart adjusts his costume for a dress rehearsal. Students will perform theatre pieces in Nelson backyards, distanced but not wearing masks. Photo: Bill MetcalfeLVR drama student Emerald Lockhart adjusts his costume for a dress rehearsal. Students will perform theatre pieces in Nelson backyards, distanced but not wearing masks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
During rehearsal, Wynnne McGrath communicates emotions despite wearing a mask. Photo: Bill MetcalfeDuring rehearsal, Wynnne McGrath communicates emotions despite wearing a mask. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Drama teacher Robyn Sheppard helps Max Ramos-Swantson adjust his costume. Photo: Bill MetcalfeDrama teacher Robyn Sheppard helps Max Ramos-Swantson adjust his costume. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Drama student Oscar Hunter. Photo: Bill MetcalfeDrama student Oscar Hunter. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Adjusting costumes. Photo: Bill MetcalfeAdjusting costumes. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

You can now have live theatre delivered to your home in Nelson.

Drama students from L.V. Rogers Secondary are offering, in your backyard, your choice of hors d’oeuvres (a 10-minute play), or a dessert (a 15-to-20 minute piece), or a full course of a 30-to-40 minutes of drama, as a fundraiser for the Capitol Theatre.

It’s called A Taste of Class: Backyard Theatre. This dramatic meal will be served on the afternoons of Nov. 1, 6, 7, and 8. The actors will perform physically distanced without masks.

No stranger to concocting innovative solutions to theatrical problems, drama teacher Robyn Sheppard has risen to the pandemic challenge.

“Drama is such a space where we’re so face to face, and we are literally in each other’s spaces, and we make lots of noise, and we sing and dance. So it’s been difficult, and I’m just trying to just be so positive,” said Sheppard.

”And the students are definitely taking up the challenge. They’re excited about it now. I just thought it was important to get an actual performance challenge.”

The 17-member class is Sheppard’s out-of-timetable Grade 10, 11 and 12 class that meets after school, and it’s only the obsessed and inspired drama kids that take it.

“This is just for kids who just are so wanting to perform,” Sheppard says. “This class is very performance based. They’re dedicated. I mean, it’s a pro-D day today [the day the Star visited a rehearsal], and we’re here from three to six. And it’s snowing. And yet they’re here.”

They were not only there, but they appeared to be cheerfully engaged in overcoming the problems of rehearsing indoors, distanced with masks, in line with school policy.

“It’s hard because drama is something so intimate,” student Wynne McGrath told the Star. “A lot of it is facial, and kind of building off of each other’s energy, and now we are being kind of forced to be apart from each other. I feel like that takes away a lot of what I love about drama. But obviously we’ve had to adapt.”

“There’s a lot of actions involved in theatre,” said Sierra Pardoe, “like hugging, or hand holding, or physical combat like a fake slap, all those things are eliminated when you have to implement COVID guidelines.”

Student Emerald Lockhart said that while rehearsing with masks the actors must rely on things other than touch or facial expression.

“You have to use your body language, and what you’re saying, to express how your character feels. And the eyes, ‘The eyes are the window of the soul.’”

Even though it’s tough in rehearsals, the actors will be taking their masks off on in the backyard performances. But they still have to stay distanced. No hugging, no hand-holding, no combat.

The project is a fundraiser for the Capitol Theatre. An hors d’oeuvre costs $25, dessert is $50, and a full meal is $100.

Sheppard says their at-home audiences will be treated to a variety of styles of theatre from modern comic scenes to Shakespeare to musical numbers.

To sign up for your taste of Sheppard’s class, email her at rsheppard@sd8.bc.ca.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

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