In lieu of the typical winter show, students from Woodinville High School’s theatre program are putting together a virtual one-act play festival from behind their computer screens.
Produced via Zoom, “Woodinville City Limits” follows seven short one-act plays with works from playwrights David Ives, Tad Mosel and Steve Unckles. This is the school’s second virtual program since the onset of the pandemic. The show, which costs $5 per household, may be viewed online Feb. 5-12.
According to a press release from the theatre company, the show incorporates five one-acts from a collection by Ives, joined by Mosel’s “Impromptu” and Unckles’ “Content.” Each written in the second half of the 20th century, the combination makes for a witty, romantic and absurd evening of virtual theatre, the release states.
“Being over Zoom is a completely different medium to work with,” WHS senior Anna Lokken said in an interview. “Of course, it's not as ideal as being together, but it's definitely been a learning experience.”
Each 15-minute play consists of small groups with three to four actors, she noted. Lokken, who appears in “Impromptu,” said it’s been difficult to create a uniform setting with lighting and staging behind separate Zoom cameras.
“I think that even though we haven't put together a show for the stage, it has been equally as challenging to try and coordinate everything,” Lokken said. “It's definitely been a lot of work putting this together.”
WHS senior Austin Glenn, also featured in “Impromptu,” said the technological aspect of creating a show over Zoom has been a unique learning curve. Since each actor’s Zoom background also becomes the stage, he added, the students are taking on extra efforts to ensure quality audio and lighting from home.
“Although you don’t get to move around a stage, it is fun to have your own little bubble to express your character in,” Glenn said.
Katarina Muller, producer and director of the show, said the students were responsible for their own lighting, costumes and occasional props. Due to the virtual nature of the show, many of the technological aspects were handled by the actors and directors themselves.
“They are learning some things that are different than normal. For example, the whole filming thing is new,” Muller said. “It's kind of give and take, but we feel that we really do need to offer the kids a way to do theater. Even if we can't do it in the theater.”
Muller said she would love for as many people as possible to see how these students “continue to grow in their craft” despite the pandemic. According to her, the community plays an important part in making these alternative shows a “great learning experience” for the students.
Theater requires everyone to work together as a team, she noted, and that includes the audience. Muller said acting really makes no sense without an audience. For $5 per household, viewers will receive a link to the play festival. People may choose to watch the show once or any number of times, she added.
“I would just hope that the people who watch it can really appreciate the time and effort that's still going into these [shows], even though it's not the same as it normally would be,” Lokken said. “Everyone is still coming together to put a show on, even though we're not actually coming together in person.”
Tickets and more information may be found at the Woodinville High School Theatre Company's website.