‘Working’ brings theater back to Wilson

Simon Holland

Wilson theater will be making it’s triumphant return this December with a production of “Working,” a musical following the work lives of ordinary people. 

“Working” is the first of three shows to take place on the Wilson main stage. As of right now, all shows will be performed with a live audience. However, due to COVID restrictions, the audience and cast members will have to be masked. The auditorium will only be at 30 to 50 percent capacity to permit social distancing. 

COVID restrictions aren’t only affecting the performance itself, but also the rehearsal process. “Working” was chosen because the musical doesn’t have a traditional plot but is broken up into smaller scenes and songs, so the preparation can be somewhat separate, allowing rehearsals to be more intimate. 

Karen Harris, the director of “Working”, explained that the nature of the show has also given “kids a chance to be a soloist or to be the focus of attention.” She felt that the pandemic made the show’s plot “very relevant because for a lot of people, the people who were deemed essential…who struggle more, who work harder, who have to work two or three jobs like a lot of the people in this show suddenly became the people who everyone was relying on.” 

Students participating in the show appreciate the show’s unique perspective. “It’s very relatable for all the stories students and adults alike can connect to,” commented junior Talia Moraru, who plays a grocery-store clerk. “We can…see people we know in those roles,” she elaborated.

Moraru explained that participating in theater again is a great outlet for her. “Being at rehearsal…it’s comforting and it gives us another sense of normalcy.” Senior John Joire also has a similar sentiment. “During the 18 months [off] I did no theater at all, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m finding myself falling in love with it again.”

Many cast and crew members report how not much of the rehearsal process has really changed. Sophomore Colette Bernards said that “besides masks, it doesn’t feel too different. Karen has been doing a great job of making sure it doesn’t.” Senior Annie McLean, one of the stage managers, agrees. “Obviously we all wear masks, but honestly not that much has changed.”

Harris and McLean note that the amount of new participation in Wilson theater is different from what they have seen before. “We also really had a two year break from theater, so that’s [two grades of] kids who have never done a Wilson show.” Harris added that “they don’t know me, they don’t know [drama teacher Dan] Iwaniec, or they’ve really just never performed. I think two-thirds of this cast is new.” 

McLean also commented on the number of new faces in the cast. “It’s definitely different with a brand-new cast. I normally would know who’s in the cast, but I’ve had to learn people’s names since I’ve never met them before.”

Despite challenges, cast members are really excited about the show. Moraru encourages her fellow students to come see “Working”. “It’ll be entertaining, and maybe they can see some of themselves in the roles and enjoy the music, and the dancing, and see all the work we’ve put into it.” 

Performances will take place Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18. Anyone interested in seeing the show can purchase tickets in advance on wilsondrama.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door with cash only. •