This piece was submitted by Jazmine Martinez (10, J&C).
The Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) will begin performances of “Charlotte’s Web,” based on the book by E.B. White, on September 18, 19, 25 and 26 in the YPAS Black Box Theater with COVID-19 safety precautions. Audience members must wear masks, seating will be socially distanced and cast members will be wearing masks as well. The show will also be available for streaming audiences on Sept. 23 and 24. Tickets are available for purchase on the YPAS website here.
Brian Hinds is the current YPAS theater director and teacher at YPAS. He has held this position for the last 10 years. Hinds explains his reasons for picking “Charlotte’s Web” this year, which include paving opportunities for his theatre major students, producing a show for younger children and including masks in the costumes. Hinds says that he has kept his theater students who want to go into acting after college, as well as younger children, in mind.
“A lot of work that new actors get is acting in plays that are for kids. There is huge demand for that,” Hinds said. “As hard as it was for older kids, [COVID-19] was especially tough for younger kids to be trying to navigate the world right now and to have a play that was just for them was something that was exciting for me.”
With the help of the costume designer and department chair, Mrs. Amy Berry, they were able to incorporate masks in the costumes to ensure everyone is staying safe during the performances. “[The animal masks] are color-schemed and the fairgoers will have country patterned masks,” Mary C. Mehling (12, YPAS) said. “We made the animal masks stick out so they can project more.” Mehling clarifies that the masks will be washed between shows.
Meanwhile, in the scenery design and production department, Magnolia Sudbuth (12, YPAS) describes the challenges they have experienced. Sudbuth said that as everyone is adjusting to the new school year and COVID-19, the scenery production has been slower than usual. They clarified that as time passed, there has been better teamwork and communication that is being used to their advantage to get back on a good schedule.
As the opening night arrives soon, students like Jennifer Reyes (12, YPAS), Alejandra Sutherland (12, YPAS), Nicholas Schaffner (12, YPAS) and Owen Fox (11, YPAS) are feeling excited about being able to perform in a mainstage production after a year of NTI and COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s a really fun cast, really great people to hang out with,” Fox said. “This is a really nice breath of fresh air for me, I’m back in my element and I really enjoy that.”
After being able to perform after a year of NTI, “it’s a bit nerve wracking” Roman Tate (12, YPAS) points out. “There is so much energy with the other actors that you kind of feed off of it and you use that to perform.”