Zoom is the new Black(box): Wilson theater perseveres through COVID

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Graphic courtesy of @wilsonhsplayers on Instagram

Chau Nguyen

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine and online-learning, the Wilson Players made the decision to host a virtual show. The student-led drama club strives to maintain the quality and inclusivity of the Wilson theater community while also capturing the joy of the rambunctious One Acts plays.

Every year, the Wilson Players presents a series of comedic One Act performances in the Wilson black box theater. Historically, Wilson staff and student organizations produce annual booming seasons of musicals, plays and original performances, of which One Act plays were a significant part. 

The process of putting the plays together takes place over the course of one month, with students taking on the different roles of theatrical production such as actors, writers, and directors. However, the pandemic has caused Wilson’s traditional extra-curricular performances to have an altered schedule, reflecting the safety requirements of the current public health crisis. 

While all music, theater, and arts classes are offered in 2020-2021, the Wilson Theater expects a “more modest season,” according to an announcement made by Wilson theater department at the beginning of the school year.

Facing adversity caused by the pandemic, the theater department continues to aim for new student-written and student-designed productions. Moving to online platforms such as Zoom, the Wilson Players are kicking off the year with Online Fall One Acts, in which students of all grades write, direct, act and film their own plays. 

The Wilson Players hosted an interest meeting on September 17, with a considerable turnout of 15 to 20 students. Given that the Wilson Players currently have 12 members, many of which will be graduating this school year, the need to recruit new members is further highlighted. 

However, the number of newcomers was not on par with that of previous years. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have as many freshmen as we like,” senior Nicole Keating, a member of Wilson Players, said. Nevertheless, the club looked forward to further participation as the year progresses. “I hope that as the theatre season continues we will get more [students],” Keating said.

The nature of Wilson’s 2020-21 productions is anticipated to allow for the perspectives of all Wilson students to be heard. In order to preserve the goal of cultural diversity and inclusivity, activities are open to all Wilson students, with encouraged participation for both new and experienced performers and creators.

Following the interest meeting, students had the opportunity to showcase their theatrical talent by creating five-minute “funny” videos of their own and submit to the Wilson Players by the October 14 deadline. All submissions are to be featured on Wilson’s YouTube channel Wilson Live and the Player’s Instagram @wilsonhsplayers. The club is also considering a live performance at the outdoor stage on Fort Reno Park, should the pandemic situation permit.