Traditionally, when the school year starts in the fall, thoughts of Saint Raphael Academy drama students turn to, "What will the play be this year?" In the time of the coronavirus, this year prompted, "Will we even be able to have a play this year?" With
Traditionally, when the school year starts in the fall, thoughts of Saint Raphael Academy drama students turn to, “What will the play be this year?”
In the time of the coronavirus, this year prompted, “Will we even be able to have a play this year?”
With the creative thinking and determination of SRA’s faculty directors, a plan was set in motion.
As Trinity Rep did with its annual “A Christmas Carol” show in 2020, Saint Raphael Academy Drama Club will stream its drama performance, in lieu of a live showing. The play, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” will be streamed on two nights, Jan. 29 and 30. The award-winning drama team is excited for this new venture.
“We made the decision to do a fully virtual show this year. It was a tough decision but an important one. We wanted to be sure to offer an opportunity for the students to do a show but wanted to be sure to keep everyone safe. We were also very concerned that if we met in person, the production could possibly be shut down or cancelled, and we did not want the students to suffer another loss,” said Moira Carraher ’97, one of the directors of SRA’s theater program.
In thinking about COVID-19 restrictions in place by the state, Carraher took precautions seriously. Once a suitable, socially distanced play was decided upon, virtual auditions over Flipgrid and Zoom began in October. Scripts were distributed to the cast, and rehearsals were conducted via Zoom. Costume and prop selection was in person, with social distancing and masking rules closely followed.
From there, it became more complicated.
“The timeline was also very different,” Carraher said. “Normally we rehearse for about nine weeks and then put up the show together. This rehearsal process was seven weeks. Students were taught a song or we worked a scene together on Zoom. They then needed to work independently. We would meet again to record scenes together on Zoom.”
Students also recorded their songs, which were then mixed with the music and edited. As it was a new process for all, often scenes had to be re-recorded.
SRA also filmed some scenes for “Charlie Brown” at the Coutu Theater. The directors made sure everyone was socially distanced and masked at all times unless they were being filmed, and even then, only one student was allowed on that stage during those times.
The play features 14 cast members playing the beloved Charles Schultz characters, including Cranston residents Adi Pfeiffer (Woodstock), Lily Schattle (Lydia) and Lindsay Cobb (Eudora), who “explore life’s great questions as they play baseball, struggle with homework, sing songs, swoon over their crushes, and celebrate the joy of friendship,” according to Concord Theatricals website.
The SRA Drama Club has won 24 State Drama Festivals, the most recent in 2018, and gone on to represent Rhode Island in numerous New England Drama Festivals.
Both performances are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10 each. Tickets may be purchased online for either the Jan. 29 performance or the Jan. 30 performance on the school’s website (saintrays.org/students/arts-program). Tickets are specific to that date's performance.