Typically, the calendar at Chicago City Day School includes numerous student drama productions, all performed live before peers, teachers, and families in the School's beautiful Hunt Theater.
Safety protocols related to COVID-19 have changed that. This year, it is not safe for students and others in the community to sit together in an auditorium to watch a play, nor can actors exchange dialogue together on stage.
Does that mean it's curtains for City Day's school plays this year? Hardly.
Rather than acting live on stage, our student actors have performed their roles in front of an iPad camera and a green screen. Mrs. Minarik, the School's drama teacher, adds backgrounds and sound effects to the video to create "virtual plays."
"I feel that live performance is something every student should have the opportunity to experience, but with video editing technology being so adaptable, recording our plays with a green screen is providing an excellent (and safe!) alternative," Mrs. Minarik said.
Students have adjusted well to the change. They show some of the same excitement when performing in front of the camera as they would on stage, because they know their work will soon be viewed by an audience.
"It feels a bit like we have transferred the play into a movie format, and that is exciting for them," Mrs. Minarik said.
So far this school year, our sixth-graders recorded skits as part of the school's Halloween activities, and our first- and second-graders performed in the School's annual Thanksgiving play. Our fourth- and fifth-graders are working now on a play that will be ready before the holidays.
Drama is part of City Day's robust arts program. Congratulations to our students and teachers for making sure the show goes on during a most unusual school year.