The show must go on (camera)

This year, pandemic restrictions made traditional performances impossible.

Gordon's busy performing arts program adapted by learning to make films.

In addition to the musical work like the G-Notes alumni collaboration, after school theater produced videos one after another, culminating in the spectacular adaptation of High School Musical, Jr. that debuted over the past week.

Here are some samples of what they came up with (eighth grade and sixth grade also produced films that never made it to a final cut).

 

High School Musical, Jr
The Middle School musical, spring 2021

How do you produce a musical with seventy students when they cannot rehearse at the same time and cannot sing in person? 

Gordon theater makers found out! 

High School Musical, Disney’s blockbuster hit from 2006, is the Romeo-and-Juliet story of two students from different cliques who break free of stereotypes and unite their school.

It was the perfect vehicle for groups of students to stay socially distant and to perform on location using Gordon’s campus. 

With their vocals safely pre-recorded, students learned to lip sync to their own performances, to create a storyline while shooting out-of-sequence, and to bring a million different details together to make a collective, cohesive whole. 

Most importantly, they lived the essential message: that we are all in this together. 

Creative team: Milly Massey, Susan Hodgin, Jacob Osborne, Sophie Jackson, Henry Stanton and the cast and crew.
 

The Scarlet Heart, A Commedia Dell’Arte Play by Allison Williams
The seventh grade play, fall 2020

There is a long tradition of mask use in the theater from cultures around the world. Gordon theater makers decided to make the most of the mask and had a blast! 

The commedia dell’arte is a form of fourteenth century theatre that spread throughout Europe. 

Most of the characters were masked so that they would be immediately recognizable in the public marketplaces where performances were held. 

As one of the first places for female actors and professional troupes, the style developed to feature broad comedy and simple situations around which highly skilled actors improvised lazzi or comedic routines.

The performance is largely improvised by the seventh grade troupe, based on a script by Allison Williams.

Creative team: Milly Massey, Jacob Osborne
 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare
The fifth grade play, fall 2020

A powerhouse of players, Gordon’s fifth grade needed a high energy piece with myriad colorful characters, and one that allowed two houses to operate in separate worlds that would logically remain socially distant. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the perfect project. 

While the human and the magical world interact in hilarious ways, the comedy stems from the fact that all remain in their own realities governed by their own rules.

Creative team: Milly Massey, Jacob Osborne

 

The Kids Go Down Below, by Rodney Witherspoon, III
viewable at https://vimeo.com/532868972 with the password: gordonfourth2021
Fourth grade play, fall 2020

At the height of the pandemic, Trinity Repertory commissioned a new play intended for twenty middle schoolers to produce in person, in a week, as part of a program that Milly Massey founded with Trinity’s education department. 

Brown Trinity MFA graduate Rodney Witherspoon, III wrote a piece intended for two socially distanced and masked groups to safely interact at a time when live theater was nearly impossible to produce. 

Gordon workshopped our version, with two houses, involving most of the fourth grade. They loved this play from the first reading.

Creative team: Emily Elder, Aleida Benitez, Milly Massey
Camera operator and editor: Emily Elder

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