Eastside Catholic School hosts first indoor show since pandemic began
Eastside Catholic School drama students perform ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’, their first indoor performance since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The American musical centers on an asocial, middle-aged musical theater fan who plays a record of his favorite musical; the show comes to life on stage as the character provides commentary on the music, story, and cast.
“We went with the Drowsy Chaperone because it’s very light,” said Eastside Catholic School drama teacher Holly Whiting. “It’s really kind of a parody of watching 1920s musicals, and it’s got some good numbers, and it’s not too much dancing but just enough.”
Whiting said that before the pandemic, the theater department was preparing to open “Cinderella,” but things stalled once COVID-19 hit the area.
“Basically, we haven’t had a theater for about two years,” Whiting said. “I think the arts have really suffered during this pandemic time for the past two years.”
Due to awareness and sensitivity, several scenes were cut from Eastside Catholic’s take on the play, and some script adjustments were made.
“Over the past two years, a lot has happened since George Floyd and Black Lives Matter — just more sensitivity around racial issues,” Whiting said.
Although the school doesn’t have a theater, Whiting said, they made the decision to perform at the Kirkland Performance Center at 350 Kirkland Avenue. The venue allows for greater artistic abilities and amenities, such as a dressing room.
“When you’re building a show in a school in a gymnasium, it’s extremely difficult because you have to build all of these spaces,” Whiting said.
The cast is made up of 28 students and nine members of the technical team from grades 6 to 12. Whiting described how the opportunity to perform in a theater was a great experience for members of his technical team working in a professional setting.
“You can never speak for a student, but I think the students enjoyed getting a sense of normalcy back,” Whiting said. “I think they enjoyed that camaraderie and the community that comes with acting.”
Whiting highlighted how there has been a disconnect with students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that theater can help build a strong, supportive community.
“That’s one thing I have to say about my Catholic crew is that they’re wonderful individuals and they really connect with each other,” Whiting said.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” opens at 7:30 p.m. on April 6, with performances on April 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. (April 9 there will also be a performance at 2:00 p.m.)
Tickets are available on the school’s website, with student ticket prices costing $10 and adult tickets costing $15.
“I hope they come away feeling uplifted, rejuvenated and entertained, and that they have a new commitment to theatre, or a restored commitment to theatre,” Whiting said. “I hate the term ‘feel-good’, but this is a feel-good musical.”