Acting class delivers chilling performance despite COVID-19 absences


McKenna King , Staff Writer

The show began after Elizabeth Berg, director and teacher of the acting class, introduced the show and announced that six actors were absent due to COVID-19. She explained that the actors filling their roles would be holding scripts onstage as they did not have enough time to memorize lines.

“Preparing a show for an audience is hard work under normal circumstances, especially on a tight rehearsal schedule — but none of us expected to have six actors out sick on the day of the performance,” Berg said. She said some students arrived early to rehearse lines and scenes.

“It was a little disappointing because a lot of our cast members that were out held the show together,” freshman Nadia Rodin said. Rodin said that the performance went better than it usually goes, and that she was proud of everyone.

“One of the seniors got COVID-19, so I got to fill in,” freshman Mia Lee-Acord said. She said she was glad to have the opportunity, but not that one of the other actors got sick.

Lee-Acord received her new role the day before the performance; she said it was a surprise.

Spartan Theatre Company performed the show, “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe,” written by Lindsay Price. It consisted of five sections, each adapted from one of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. The production had one act and was performed solely on May 20, both in-person and on livestream.

“I think that after the couple of months I put into it, it came out really, really well,” Lee-Acord said. The acting class had started rehearsing in late March, with most rehearsals during class time. She said the show was better than she had expected. 

The five-person student tech crew joined the actors the week of the performance. Sophomore Megan Lau, stage manager and livestream operator, said the show went “surprisingly well.”

“I thought we had to delay it, but we didn’t have time to delay it. It was a whole mess but we fixed it; we got it,” Lau said. “The acting class was really together and honestly I really enjoyed the experience of just watching them get rehearsed.”

Though no members of the tech crew were absent due to COVID-19, the missing actors made it harder for the tech crew as well, freshman Sierra Kelly said. She said the tech crew had only three days to learn about the show. Kelly was the sound designer and sound board operator. She said “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe” was her first time working on sound. 

Berg said the rest of the cast “stepped up” and that it was a joy to watch them put their skills together.

“I could not have been more impressed with their resilience, work ethic, and support of one another — and while I am heartbroken for the students who were not able to perform, I was filled with pride watching the cast and crew come together to make this show happen,” she said.