Behind the curtains of Hamlet


Owen Cummings

The auditorium is being used to rehearse Hamlet instead of the blackbox theater. Rehearsal plans were made by Michael Sherman and Helen Raymond-Goers.

WHHS’s upcoming play, Hamlet, will be streamed on SmartTix on Nov. 20. The play’s development process will be different from the usual procedure and in-person rehearsals will be held under COVID-19 protocols: masks, social distancing and sanitizing. 

Michael Sherman, one of the two theater directors, has cleared the air on many of the questions people have regarding theater.

“In terms of crew, we’re limiting the number of students that will be allowed backstage in the dressing room so that we can maintain that six foot distance, everybody backstage will be wearing a mask, period, end of story,” Sherman said.

The number of actors at rehearsals has also been limited to ensure social distancing. 

“We’re looking at expanded green room and dressing room areas depending on the square footage,” Sherman said. 

There is a possibility that the actors will be wearing clear masks to allow for the audience to see the actors’ full faces.  

“The [plan] is to stage it like we normally would in the auditorium,” said Sherman. Due to the size of the auditorium, the cast is able to effectively social distance.

A professional video company in the greater Cincinnati area has agreed to film and help edit the final performance. 

 “We’re going to have three performances for the cast and then look at the best scenes and performances from those three and edit it together into the production that the audience will eventually see,” Sherman said. 

Theater is a personal experience with emotion and a need to interact with people. Online meetings lose some of that personal and emotional element. 

Most theater companies right now are rehearsing and filming remotely. Some are even editing their performances and using virtual backgrounds and camera tricks.

“I think it’s really fun that our acting students, who are very much used to stage acting, now get to experience a little bit of film too. If we’re in a position where we are completely remote for extracurriculars, that’s our backup plan,” Sherman said.

The alternative plan can be seamlessly transitioned into without losing much progress. Time has been built in for any sort of mishap that may happen. 

The theater department is confident that the safety protocols will keep everyone safe and healthy and that they will be able to stay relatively on schedule. However, since the effects of COVID-19 are changing every day, it is unclear whether a final performance will happen at all.