The Show Must Go On (even with remote learning)

The Show Must Go On (even with remote learning)
Posted on 05/05/2020
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Project 38 playRemote learning hasn’t stopped Lakota West’s Acting 2/3 class from finishing a project they started back in January.

They just completed “Keeping Up with the King,” a video performance for the annual Project 38 festival hosted by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Schools throughout the area were given one of Shakespeare’s 38 plays to adapt; West received Richard II, a story about a corrupt king being overturned. The class decided to create a reality TV show where they would take the basics of the three-hour play and condense it to just 12 minutes.

Kim Eldridge’s Acting 2/3 class had written the script together, auditions had been held, and filming had just begun – then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“We were able to film two clips for the project before school was closed,” said Eldridge. “The remaining scenes had to be filmed at each cast member's home, using family members to film and assist in other ways.” Zoom calls were held to discuss how to film the scenes at home, and then the clips were dropped into We Video for editing. “The finished project is just an incredible remote learning accomplishment,” added Eldridge.

“I learned my class is really talented at pulling off a remote performance together,” said senior Gina Garand. “Somehow we managed to make it work and the scenes look amazingly put-together! I really enjoyed getting to finish the year by putting on a ‘show’ together. I thought we weren’t going to be able to do it, and thankfully we were with the help of our amazing teacher.”

Filming the reality TV show at home brought on new challenges. When West senior Anna Lavin filmed one of the scenes before quarantine, she said “I just walked in, said my lines, and did whatever people told me to do. Everyone else took care of all the technical aspects. When we started shooting at home, I realized it was my job to make sure the camera was set up properly, it was my job to make sure the setting was appropriate.” Anna also said it was different not being able to feed off the energy from other actors as they exchanged lines, and that acting for the camera versus a live audience was a new experience for her. “The camera picks up everything, and sometimes even just raising my eyebrows too much would make it seem like I was overacting. I’m so glad I got to practice this skill.”

AJ Alejandro (who played Richard II) agreed. “Having to do the project remotely made me realize how much this experience has given us and the opportunities it has allowed us to take. Although we were not physically together, we are still as strong and connected as ever.”

The virtual Shakespeare festival began on April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday), and can be seen on Project 38 Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Facebook page.