Online Drama

Middle School Drama has risen to meet every challenge with skill.


Photograph by Rizzo

Middle School student Sofia Chambers won Superior Technical Makeup Design

This year proved to be one of the hardest years not only for the Upper School, but for the Middle School as well. However, MS Drama did not see the threat of COVID as a hindrance, rather, as an opportunity to enhance the Drama department. Despite all the challenges they faced, the Middle School Thespians were able to compete in 46 events, receiving 23 Superiors and 19 Excellents.

“The reason I think it was so successful is because when school first started there were no clubs, no sport, nothing, so I said ‘Theater is theater and the show must go on! We must continue to do what we do,’” said Ms. Laura Rizzo, head of the Middle School Drama Department when asked about this year’s record-breaking enrollment of over 70 competing Junior Thespians and their subsequent success in competing in the virtual Junior Thespian Competition. Ms. Rizzo has also not been able to come to school due to an injury, so the entirety of the Thespian competition and One Act play was directed virtually. 

Though the competition was done in an online format, it actually paved the way for 46 pieces to compete in it, which would have been nearly impossible if the competition had been in person like in previous years.The competition has a system of 4 ratings: superior, excellent, good, fair, and poor. There were 46 events competing which received only superior and excellent ratings, which is pretty amazing. Out of those were 23 superiors, 19 excellents and 2 Top Honors (which indicates a perfect score).

Talia Kilstock received a perfect score and Superior, Top Honor for Acting Monologue (Photograph by Rizzo)

“There was a whole process that was put into play and had COVID not been happening, none of that would matter,” said Ms. Rizzo about the opportunities COVID brought to the Middle School Drama program. Each Thespian was given a ring light which they had to film their monologue, duet scene/musical, ensemble scene/musical, solo musical, or One Act Play with. Students auditioned for each category, ranging from monologues to ensemble musical, and only the top 8 were chosen for each category. After that, they had to rehearse with Ms. Rizzo and record their first performance using their phone and ring light. Then they would get notes, and sometimes they would have to re-record. Ms. Rizzo estimates there were over 200 hours of rehearsal. The final performance was then uploaded to the competition website. 

Thespians also competed with the One Act Play, 12 Angry Villains, receiving a superior rating for it, and it was also performed for the school on November 12. There was also a rehearsal time discrepancy, as some students were performing from different time zones, so they had to come up with a rehearsal schedule that worked for everyone. 

“It was a bit different. I’m not really used to that over my years of being a part of the Drama program, so it was a bit confusing at first,” stated Ben Rosas, who played the Big Bad Wolf in 12 Angry Villains, when asked about how the acting process changed due to it being in an online format. The rehearsals were done through Zoom meeting with Ms. Rizzo, who would read the lines while they performed, so that the editor could merge all the recordings together. 

“All the praise should go to the people who worked on the video, because it must have been stressful to do that. I had the easy part, they had the hard work of putting together all of those videos,” said Ben Rosas about the filming process. 

The Middle School Drama Department had a pretty successful season so far, with record-breaking enrollments, and various accolades for their incredible work. They are putting together a Spring Musical which is yet to be announced, but we are excited to see how they will do, no doubt it will be amazing.