HHS Fall Production, “Middletown” is announced following with guidelines

Julianna Russ

     The Highlands Theatre department has decided on their fall play this year and released certain options to work with for the production. Alternative choices were offered as well, but Middletown gave students the most freedom.

     Highlands Theatre Director Jason Burgess explains, “We were supposed to do Death by Chocolate, but I changed it to a play that is easier to adapt in different ways if need be.

     Middletown is a deeply moving and funny play exploring the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between.

     Junior Annie Perkins, head makeup designer of the play, understands the makeup has to be visible and crisp from a live stream perspective, as well as visible to a live audience. “This is a little tricky due to the fact that makeup has to be exaggerated and darkened for the stage, but somewhat realistic for the camera,” Perkins explained. 

     In order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, the actors and actresses are doing their own basic makeup, while the makeup crew practices clean, visible lines for specialized makeup.

     Perkins added that the cast is performing without masks. There are only three people per scene, so castmates can always remain socially distanced.

     Additionally, due  to the current circumstances and changed schedules, there are a variety of different options that can make everything easier to adapt:

     Option 1 – Perform the production as normally done, but with a limited audience that wears a mask the whole time; also a virtual audience, who can purchase tickets digitally, could watch from home using an encryption code.

     Option 2 – This is the same as option one except that there would be no live audience and the show would be streamed from the PAC to everyone’s house.

     Option 3 – This would be to film the entire show in segments in the PAC or on location where need be, and then edit the pieces together and stream the show.

     Option 4 – Do the entire production like a Radio Drama; this means that the play would be completely audio and come from a technological device.

     With so many choices, actors and actresses, who have been cast for the play, are a bit curious about what is to come.

     Junior Alix Tibbs, who will perform in the role of the Librarian, is not overly stressed about how the production will play out during the pandemic. “I’ve been part of a perfectly safe indoor production over the summer and as long as we have the right people pulling the right strings, and as long as we follow all the guidelines, I’m fairly optimistic,” she said.

     The show will open on November 5 and will run through November 8. Each show will be held in the Performing Arts Center at Highlands High School.