Quirky quarantine

Two musical cast members quarantined opening night

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photo credit: Savannah DeLeon

Goofy Grandpa \\ During one of the theatre’s dress rehearsals, junior Robair Sedarous acts as Grandpa Gordon in the week before opening night. Later, he was quarantined on opening night and did not get to act in the musical for most of the showings. “Theater is important to me because that is my only time of day when I get to speak to my friends about something other than homework,” Sedarous said. “It’s my free time during the day. It puts in a space of mine where I can forget about all my academic responsibilities for just a couple of hours.”

writer: Heath Hadley, Editor in Chief

Opening night, the night where months of time and effort culminate to make a show no one will forget. For two cast members, instead of acting on the stage, they had to quarantine at home and take COVID-19 tests Jan. 22 to see if they could take the stage in one of the later showings.

On the opening night of the school musical Freaky Friday, cast members Christianna Burdick andRobair Sedarous were both suddenly quarantined and had to miss the first showings, but got to go act in the last few. 

“I just want to thank the directors for all their apologies towards the situation, which obviously isn’t their fault,” Sedarous said. “I would also like to thank all my cast and crew members for their messages and their apologies. It is a cast that I will always remember beyond my years in high school.”

Sedarous acted as Grandpa Gordon, Mr. Blumen and Hannah’s Dad, and Burdick is an ensemble flex member, which moves set pieces and sets up each scene while also being prepared to step in for a variety of roles. 

“Miriam Stone took over the set pieces that I moved and filled in for me,” junior Burdick said. “That is probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had. To be honest I cried for like two hours.”

For the first showing, they were replaced with understudies from Cast 2, a collection of understudies who prepared to replace any role. 

“I was a bit nervous because I was being called out of class, but the director then explained to me the situation and asked if I would be willing to take on the role,” Miriam Stone said. “I needed to learn the blocking and lines for a science teacher then the movements of set and props for an ensemble member who also got quarantined. I missed two periods in order to learn the role then decided to continue on with my day.”

Freshman Miriam Stone  was one of the understudies who took the place of the quarantine cast members.

I just want to thank the directors for all their apologies towards the situation, which obviously isn’t their fault. I would also like to thank all my cast and crew members for their messages and their apologies. It is a cast that I will always remember beyond my years in high school.”

— Robair Sedarous

“Of course I did not expect to go onstage the day of the performance, but I did have the idea that it was a possibility,” Stone said. “I have loved theatre ever since I started at my church and it was a blessing to get to perform again even in the midst of a pandemic. Because giving people joy and seeing the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it.”

They rehearsed for almost three months with morning rehearsals almost every day before school, with after school rehearsals, late rehearsals the week before the show and a mix of Friday, weekend and holiday rehearsals.

“I did online school, however I tested negative, and I was cleared by the nurse to return for Saturday’s performance at 2,” Burdick said. “I did have to follow stricter COVID guidelines so I was allowed to linger around people or remove my mask at all, and I had to eat in another room away from people but I was allowed to perform.”
The cast members participated in the later performances and got their regular parts back due to their quarantine ending and testing negative.

“I, luckily enough, was able to perform on the Saturday performance because that is when my quarantine ended and I was performing normally like I never was quarantined,” Sedarous said. “Although I missed two of my three show dates I am lucky enough that I will still be in the One Act play, which should be performed in May, as Mr. Witherspoon.”

Until the cast members get out of quarantine, others must take their place. 

“By the time the seventh period had ended I was feeling nervous and guilty. I felt horrible that I had to take another person’s part knowing they were so upset they had to be quarantined,” Stone said. “It wasn’t their fault and they couldn’t do anything about it. I asked God to help me honor them as I performed and wished them the best hoping they would have peace.”

Due to the pandemic, theatre had to face more than just a possible quarantine. 

“The mask hides the face which is where the emotion of a character comes from. It also muffles the sound,” theatre director Donella DiPasquale said. “With so many students, I’m not sure that we had a 100% present cast and crew ever on the stage, but everyone pitched in.”

This year, the theatre had a limited cast of only 30 people, and only a fraction of them could be on stage and backstage at a time, and their audience was limited too. 

“Audiences are a HUGE part of live theatre, the reaction between cast and audience amplifies the entire performance,” DiPasquale said. “They feed off one another. Having to limit ticket sales and people worried about being indoors at a performance made our audience numbers low.”

Even though they missed opening night, their castmates still found ways to include them. 

“It felt terrible to be quarantined on opening night,” Sedarous said. “It’s been a long while since I felt that opening night adrenaline rush and the nervousness of it. “Although I did feel very disappointed, I received a snap from my friend Devan Hardman before the show time and I opened it and it was the whole cast yelling ‘I love you Robair’ which truly made my week.”