Arts Without an Audience


Jyn Jones

Due to COVID-19, the theater stays empty.

With COVID-19, putting on a school play seems impossible. Luckily, Hutchison has figured out a way for students to have a theater experience and it will be filmed. A “flay” as they are calling it. The play is “Trap” by Stephen Gregg  and it’s a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Since the play is virtual, there has been some confusion on how exactly that will be going to happen. Lacey Hudman says, “We still want to stay true to what a stage performance is, so we’re really just talking through her [Ms. Caskey] blocking and her staging and how she would normally work a scene, and how we can translate that to film.” Filming is not just being done at Hutchison, it’s being filmed at other locations in Memphis, such as the Orpheum. Rehearsals will also be one on one instead of in a big group. Since this is something that has not been done by Hutchison before, there are many challenges that people are having to face. Anne Marie Caskey, Artistic Director at Hutchison, states, “It is going to be an individual challenge for each of the actors to find their characters and rehearse and learn their lines on their own.” While there may be obstacles, there are also many advantages to doing this film/play. Lillian Barcroft, Fine Arts Council President, says, “Since we are doing the play virtually, it means that a lot more girls will be in the show. If they have stage fright, then they do not have to be on a stage, they get to be in a small group. We got lots of girls that have never tried out before.”

The arts have changed so much in the past year because of the Coronavirus. Since everyone must be six feet apart finding ways to be creative has been difficult. Wearing masks does not show any facial expressions, which can be necessary in the arts, especially when putting on school plays. Tracey Ford, Director of Arts and Community Engagement explains, “It has really changed in how we structure our lessons, but also how we are having to restructure the actual art making.” The arts is a way that people express themselves. It is entertaining and a connection between the audience and the performers. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, large groups can not gather around to watch the arts be done. It is great that Hutchison has found a way to end up doing a play. 

The play is starting production and will be put online for everyone to watch. “This is a time right now for theater people to kind of look inside and take some time to be still and reflect on what our art means to us.” Caskey adds. Many places have shut down all arts because of COVID-19. Hutchison has made a great compromise for the fall, with hopes of doing a musical in the second semester. When asked about a possible spring musical, Barcroft says, “I am very hopeful for the fact that there will be a spring musical. There are a lot of plans in place to make sure everybody is safe. I think there is a possibility that it will happen, and everyone will get to enjoy it.”