St. Charles North Theater Department Adapts Fall Play


Addie Grimm

As play practice takes place online, the North Auditorium sits empty.

Ryan Halston, Staff Writer

The year 2020 has taken its toll on most of our normal, everyday lives. From leisure to work, everything is different and frankly, unpleasant. Unfortunately, the St. Charles North theater department has suffered an impact from COVID-19. After canceling last year’s spring musical, “Into The Woods,” there wasn’t much hope for live theater productions at North. However, the show must go on. The North theater department’s actors and teachers are working to produce this year’s fall play: “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play.” 

Natalee Hryniewicz, the director of the fall play said, “the actors all play different Radio actors portraying characters in three shortened stories as told by the Master of Suspense-Alfred Hitchcock: ‘The Lodger,’ ‘Sabotage,’ and ‘The 39 Steps.’ The stories feature spies, murder, love, and other trademarks of Hitchock’s films, and each story is told in the style of an old 1940’s Radio Broadcast, complete with vintage commercials.” 

The play will be acted out and presented to an audience on Zoom, a popular conference call application.

“There is only so much actors can do when interacting with each other online…this year, we are doing everything we can to still provide an outlet for our students,” said Ryan Colton, a drama teacher at North. “We’d like a student stage manager to run the Zoom while students in tech will run the sound effects live in the stream.”

The fall play will be advertised via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as if it were a regular play at St. Charles North. Not only is participating in the fall play just for the actors, but also for the entertainment of the students. In these trying times, they want to provide the students with a semi-normal year in the safest way possible.

“I’m looking forward to just being able to act again…it was a hard time not being able to act for so long,” said Karissa Rivera, a senior actress in the fall play. 

The tech crew will also play a role in the fall play by adding sound effects and possible music when necessary. 

“…they will be controlling the shot choices, the locations and the way we hear the performers, effects and music,” Joe Pietrie, the tech crew advisor said. “All ‘effects’ will be produced live, whenever possible.”

Once the school district is able to use Zoom, this will unlock many different ways for various classes and clubs throughout the school to come together and have more resources to resume as close as the students and teachers can get to normality at home.

“It’s going to be challenging, but we’re all working together, which is what theatre is all about: creative collaboration,” said Colton.

Actors at North are excited to get back into acting, even under these circumstances. They simply want to provide the students with some quality entertainment this school year.

Luke Risch, a senior actor in the fall play, said “I’m looking forward to how we can rise above this pandemic and still provide quality productions for our audience.”