Theatre Department Adapts to Online Learning


Ulli Paege/ 00

Longfellow Theatre Company’s stage will remain empty, with no spring play in 2020.

By Leah D.

Since quarantine began, everything feels a little like going down Alice’s rabbit hole. Students and teachers alike are trying to adapt to the many changes such as online classes and cancellations, one of which is the play planned for this May, Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Unfortunately, the spring musical will not be resurrected next year. Mrs. Barry, the director and theater teacher here at Longfellow, feels it would be best to start anew.

“I think, with some 7th graders having been cast as leads, and some being cast understudying leads, it could get messy with fresh auditions next year. I was super excited for this cast, and it just doesn’t feel right to try a redo with so many kids moving on to high school,” said Ms. Barry.

In addition to the cancellation of Alice in Wonderland Jr., online theatre classes have had to make some changes, as have others due to distance learning. However, despite these challenges, Mrs. Barry and Mr. Bantle, Longfellow’s other tech theater teacher, have worked hard to give their students the best experience she can via online classes.

 According to Skye M., who was a member of the stage crew for the musical and is currently taking the semester-long tech theatre class, she is still enjoying classes and plans to join stage crew again next year.

“Everything has been fairly organized and quite entertaining! So far, we’ve been assigned projects such as prop lists and setting moods with lighting. None of it really differs from what we did in class other than the group element. The quality of the online class is surprisingly similar to that of the one in person,” said Martin.

 Not only are tech theater classes facing several changes, but the same goes for theater classes. Ms. Barry also teaches a semester-long class that helps students learn the fundamental skills needed for acting, along with the basics of theater overall.

 According to Jaya R., a student currently enrolled in theater classes, a typical day before distance learning would begin with some kind of theater game, then a lecture from Mrs. Barry, and lastly, the students would use the remainder of class to finish whatever project had been assigned. 

However, now that classes are online, there is no more game to start off class, and fewer projects are being assigned. Despite the circumstances, Ms. Barry is working hard to continue teaching these students all about theater.

“Our most recent assignments were listening to radio dramas online. Our most recent project was recording our voice saying tongue twisters clearly,” said Jaya.

Jaya also stated that it is harder to stay focused on these projects now that students aren’t physically attending classes.

Overall, theater and tech theater classes have had to make many changes to adapt during these times, and Mrs. Barry and Mr. Bantle are doing their best to ensure students receive the best experience they can. 

As for what the play will be next year (if there is one at all), only time will tell as we continue to learn what the future will look like here at Longfellow.