Lights, Camera, (Socially Distanced) Action!


Socially distanced Oak students reciting their lines.

Hugging, high-fiving, and many other forms of touch are popular in drama. But due to the recent circumstances, anything regarding touch is not allowed.

An important component of Oak drama classes is performing improv. Improv is making an accident look like it was meant to happen, which in most cases allows the play to become more intriguing to the audience. Since actors must socially distance, Oak drama students are limited on how they can turn an accident into a masterpiece. With this in mind, the students are learning to work creatively around these problems. 

One way of working around this is by paying close attention to other ideas and movements. According to Theresa Robbins Deducks, an Improv teacher for Artists Repertory Theatre from Oregon, actors need to “pay close attention and responsively listen to your acting partners out of respect and love…Respond to what is happening over there, in your partner’s little virtual box, and commit to the encounter; that is, let it change you.”

Even though all the challenges, students have managed to find plenty of good in this year’s drama. Seventh-grade Advanced drama student Jenna Currey shared her thoughts. “Because of the hybrid schedule, there are fewer people I spend drama with in person, and that really helps me feel a good connection with them. I am just very grateful I can continue with drama and the people along with it.” 

Drama teacher, Dr. Arias explains: “It’s been a great opportunity for us to work on all of our pent-up emotions: the fear, the anger, the loneliness, or whatever while we were on quarantine. So, I think being able to come in and take drama during Covid-19 has impacted the depth of emotion, the creativity, and the desire for students to express themselves.”

So even without touch, Drama class has been an adventure already this year.