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Drama During The Pandemic

Samantha Cinelli, active participant and president of the Drama club, agreed to engage in an interview conducted by BV Newsroom to explore thoughts on Drama club during the pandemic. Samantha diligently answers each of the interview questions to help us get a better look on how COVID-19 and distance learning has affected our Drama department.

What does Drama mean to you? How is it different from any other extra curricular?Drama has changed in its personal meaning to me over time. When I first started at BV, drama was a way to meet people who enjoy what I loved. As it evolved, it became an outlet for my academic stressors and I used it as a way to vent in a productive way. If I look at some of my other extracurriculars: I’ve noticed there isn’t that same freedom of interpretation of purpose, rather a prolonged place of academic exploration.

Tell us about the club, what is the biggest misconception about Drama? The biggest misconception about drama is that you have to be a “drama kid” to enjoy it. Theater stimulates so many areas of the brain and every single individual I’ve seen go through theater who didn’t identify as a “drama kid” has developed self confidence and public speaking in a way one would never expect. There’s so much behind the experience other than cast lists and musicals.

What does an average day in Drama look like during COVID? Average day of drama? It looks like this. Schlatter trying to pull some participation from kids who are left without an outlet otherwise. Theater is not the same when it’s not in person, to put it quaintly.

How do you feel about the fact that sports and school are in session and Drama/theatre aren’t? I’m mad about it. Arts are consistently put on the back burner and I feel as though people don’t understand the transformative nature of creative expression. Kids need the arts, just as much as sports or academics- arts are what make us human.

Are you ok with not performing in the name of safety? Yes, obviously, I have to be. As a high risk perso, I know the consequences of not respecting the boundaries in place by the CDC. Do I like it? Obviously not. But do I understand health comes first? Absolutely.

Which form of Drama do you like better, online or in person? What is your favorite part of each? In person. I fully believe theater is thwarted when the aspect of personal and physical interpretation and interactions is absent. It’s so disheartening to see the theater space be minimized, but at least online there’s minimal risk and performances are more accessible to a larger group of people

What is something you want people to know about Drama during distance learning? Theater has changed. I don’t think we’ll be “normal” in theaters or the arts in general for the next 20-30 years. We as artists have to learn to adapt to a digital landscape now more than ever.

Has there been any talk about online performances, etc.? Minimal talk about online performances through BV.

As the president of Drama club, how have your duties changed as we shifted to distance learning? Is it easier or more difficult? Why? While drama club is not as active as it was in years previous I do feel like my job is more difficult. When I first became drama club president, I wanted to make a drama club that is accessible to the widest amount of people possible. But now, I feel as though that is an impossible feat in the way that the internet worlds and in the way that our perceptions of theater as incoming students I’ve changed. I feel as though I’m not about to accomplish the goals that I want to set out because it feels very isolated and that I have to figure out how to p;atform myself without reliable platform platform.

What do you think the drama department will look like in the future, now that we have experienced such a thing like COVID? I feel like high school theater for the most part will remain the same. This art form is not conductive to change and I feel as though our theater isn’t necessarily a hotbed for evolution. But the art space as a whole willin fact change and I feel as though we should understand that we need to prepare the new generation of performers for this evolving landscape.

As one can see, the Drama department has undergone numerous alterations. There is a lot that goes into making sure that spirit of the arts stays alive and active. Samantha Cinelli expresses herself as a hardworking president and activist for the arts.

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