Our Town production to take place on Alumni Field

Our+Town+production+to+take+place+on+Alumni+Field

Sean Lee and Rachel Baez

Morale is high among the tight-knit cast of the Middle Division (MD) play, “Our Town,” as rehearsals resume, theatre teacher and director of the play Benjamin Posner said. The cast had its first rehearsal since Spring Break this past Saturday, and this week was their first full week of rehearsal, Posner said. The performance is scheduled to happen on Alumni Field on Saturday, June 12.

The rehearsal process is running smoothly, stage manager Bailey Hecht (10) said. “Typically, we have one rehearsal each day during D or E period, and we’re also having a bunch of Saturday rehearsals.”

However, the postponement of performances due to COVID-19 restrictions have been a major challenge for the production, Hecht said. Social distancing protocols and unexpected quarantines have also slowed the process, Posner said.

The rehearsal process initially began in the Fall and the cast was fully prepared to perform the first act of the play in November. The production came to a halt after a large number of seventh graders were quarantined the day before the performance, Posner said.

The cast did not rehearse throughout the remote school period in the winter, but was nonetheless prepared to start rehearsals for the first act in early March, Posner said. However, because Posner had to quarantine that week, he put a pause on rehearsals.

The cast has since resumed rehearsals for all three acts of the play. While Posner initially planned for the cast to perform each act at a different time throughout the year, they now aim to perform all three acts at once, he said. “Here we are — it’s spring time and we’re getting ready to get the show back up on its feet.”

Actors still have concerns regarding COVID-19 regulations during rehearsals. Actor James Moore (7) is frustrated that students are forced to yell and repeat themselves as it is difficult to hear each other through their masks, he said.

Actor Emily Park (7) worried about how rehearsals would adapt to keep actors safe. “Social distancing also became an issue — the scenes are written in a way where the actors can’t keep their distance, so we have to change a lot of our stage directions in order to follow COVID regulations.” 

While the cast originally struggled to find time to rehearse all together, the play has since adapted to these challenges, Park said. “We’ve had more Saturday rehearsals this year than we’ve had in the past because rehearsing after school has presented a host of other logistical problems,” Posner said. “Parents have been very supportive in regards to the shifting schedule, and Mr. Khan has also been our champion in terms of steering us towards production — not an easy task amidst the COVID safety guidelines.”

In preparation for their final performance, actors are now carrying their scripts onto the stage and performing a minimalist play, Hecht said. Saturday rehearsals are a source of enjoyment for the directors and actors alike, Hecht said. “As long as you’re passionate about it, it’s fun to have the extra time with other people who enjoy the same thing.”

Despite the several challenges the production has faced, Posner’s original plans remain intact. “[I want to] tell the story, provide the actors a fulfilling experience, and give the audience something to enjoy, learn from, and connect with,” he said.

Park hopes that she will have the opportunity to perform for their peers, she said. “I hope that we can have the production sometime this year because we all worked really hard for it, and it would be nice to perform for the Middle Division.”

Posner finds it important for the cast to finally perform, and anticipates it will be a rewarding experience, he said. “The actors in the stage lights, the sun setting behind the hill, and the school community gathering for the first time in a long time and bearing witness to a story that is a testament to life. Can you picture a better scene than that? I can’t.”