Local Theatre Productions Welcome Audiences While Following COVID Protocols

Aliya Surti, Reporter

With schools in the area wishing to return to more normal practices, theaters are also opening up.  This year, following safety policies as well as maintaining a fun environment for both actors and audience members is highly important.

          At DC Everest, the mask and social distancing policy is treated as optional, however, the theater department wishes to keep running.

          “We are staying distanced so we can ensure that we can keep the show going,” DC Everest Senior Katie Kloth said.  

          Kloth plays the Lunchlady in Junie B. Jones.

          The meal plan for the show will be prepackaged instead of the usual buffet style, and the choreography is more spread out than usual.  

           With actors attempting to follow protocols, the audience members pose a question.  At Everest, they will also be optional, instead of required.

           “If it comes to wearing masks, people aren’t going to do it,” DC Everest Senior Jayson Coleman said.  “Masks are recommended.”

          Coleman is playing Mr. Scary in Junie B. Jones.

          However, requiring students to wear masks while acting makes a difference in the show.  Schools in the area are handling the situation differently.  Wausau West also has an optional approach to policies.  

          “You can’t use facial expressions at all with masks, so they need to convert their characters in other ways,” Cindi Strobel, theater director at Wausau West says.  “Actors can pull their mask down for a solo.”

          The audience will be able to pick seats at West, allowing them to social distance.  There was also another show added to the weekend to help spread the audience out.

          “About 50% of the cast wears masks.  I am just incredibly grateful that we’re able to put on a show this year,” Wausau West Senior Izzy Sunby said.  

         Sunby is the Dowager in Anastasia.

         Wausau East also has an optional approach to guidelines.  

          “We do not have requirements to wear face coverings at our school, which is good for theater expression but it puts our safety at risk,” Wausau East Senior Alex Benson said.  

          Benson is Sam in Mamma Mia.

           Putting on a show is important to the actors, and many are following protocols to keep shows running.  

           “Of course I wish that the show would be ‘normal’ and without restrictions, however, I’m grateful that I get to be in any show at all,” DC Everest Senior Vanessa Kamke said.

          Kamke will be Mommy in Junie B. Jones.

          The more relaxed protocols of local schools contrast with those of the Grand Theater.  With traveling shows coming in, the theater must be more strict than local schools. The Grand website states all guests are required to wear masks, as well as show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

          “Theater during a pandemic is hard,” Strobel said.  “There are so many adjustments and changes we have to make, but it is so worth it.”

          Junie B. Jones will be the 18-21 of November, Anastasia will be the 12-14, and Mamma Mia will be the 12-14.