Footlighters VS COVID

Azana W., Art and Culture Reporter

Coronavirus has changed everyone’s life drastically. From only having school online to social distance circles in stores, there’s no doubt about it. We can definitely see a change in the Mercy community. Footlighters, a theatre arts club, is one of the clubs that’s been affected by this change.  I interviewed Ms. Thomas, Director of Fine Arts, about how Footlighters have been handling COVID.   

What is Footlighters?

Ms. Johnson: “​Footlighters is Mercy High School’s theater club. The name actually comes from how they used to light the stage before modern stage lights were invented. The stage used to be lit with candles that sat directly on the stage at foot level. Hence the name Footlighters!”

What is the upcoming play about?

Ms. Johnson: “Our fall production, “This is a Test” by Stephen Gregg is about a high school student who is about to take a test. She stays up all night the night before trying to cram but keeps getting distracted. When she arrives to take the test, not only is she horribly anxious and unprepared, but outrageous things are happening all around her. Her friends are cheating, she is hearing voices, the teacher is constantly picking on her, and an unseen voice is mocking her.”

What problems did/do you face with planning this play online?

Ms. Johnson: “The process of planning a virtual production is new to all of us!  We are having to be flexible as things continue to change by the day.  Human interaction is vital to a successful production and we are learning how to find that interaction on a screen.”

Did any good things come out of planning the play online?

Ms. Johnson: ” ​Hmmmm, now that’s a tough one!  I suppose we could all say that we have gotten more tech savvy as a whole.  Other than that, I think we would all prefer to be on our gorgeous stage together!”

How were auditions handled during COVID?

Ms. Johnson: “We held auditions virtually.  Each cast member signed up for a time slot, joined the Microsoft Team where the materials were located, and prepared just like she would for any audition.  Ms. Carlson and I then listened to each girl read through her part via Zoom, called a side, and then we decided together where we thought each actress would be most successful.  And boy was it difficult, we have so many talented girls!”

How are you currently having rehearsals?

Ms. Johnson: “Currently, we are having one rehearsal in person per week and the rest on Zoom.  We will most likely move exclusively to Zoom fairly soon as it is more important to have virtual rehearsals for a virtual production.  They are so different!  The in-person rehearsals were to hopefully start to form the bond that is so important for any theatrical production.”

How do you plan to display this play during COVID?

Ms. Johnson: “​We are having a live staged reading at the Sisters of Mercy Athletic field on October 17th at 6:00 PM and a presentation of our recorded production on the weekend of November 20th.  Be on the lookout for a Zoom invitation to watch the show!”

 When can we plan to see this wonderful performance?

Ms. Johnson: “You can either plan to come and see a live script reading of the show on October 17th at Mercy on the athletic field, socially distanced of course, or you can watch the finished product with us in November.”


Make sure to support your talented classmates and see This Is A Test by the Footlighters.