Masquers put in work to take stageplay online


Due to the Coronavirus, The Masquers of West Essex found a new way to stage a production of their most recent show, “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza” through Zoom.

By Molly Simon, Senior Chief Arts and Culture Editor

Like the rest of the world, the Masquers of West Essex have adjusted to doing things differently this year. 2020 and 2021 are years like no other, but the Masquers have faced and pushed through adversity. In fact, unlike anything they have ever done before, this year they put on the production of the comedy “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza,” through Zoom.

Director and West Essex High School teacher Brittany Hernandez said this production was unlike any other. With the use of Zoom came technical difficulties such as lagging and audio problems, she said, but the cast members persevered and produced an amazing play. 

“There were a lot of times that people would think that they were done speaking but nobody else heard them,” Hernandez said. “So what we are experiencing in class, we are experiencing after school too.”

Despite the difficulty, the cast said they managed to find comedic relief in the face of setbacks.

“The most fun part was the laughs we get from people cutting out and getting kicked from the calls,” lead narrator Grant King said. 

The cast was able to produce the show straight from their bedrooms. Sophomore Chloe Bonaguide said that she really liked the freedom they had to use their resources at home.

To be able to successfully produce this play, Mrs. Hernandez thought pre recording it was the “most safe and consistent way for [them] to be able to get all the material [they] needed.” During unprecedented times like these, school schedules are changing all the time and cast members attend school on different days. Therefore, it was nearly impossible to hold this play live, in person.

“The most difficult part of learning my part over Zoom was the inability for me to interact with anybody else,” King said. “This made it hard to get used to your part, and that repetition we would usually have that helped us learn our parts wasn’t as strong over zoom.”

During the Zoom calls, which would have as many as 37 participants at once, Hernandez would share her screen to the cast and it would be like a big table read; everyone would read from the script on the screen. Students would eventually learn their parts and record them speaking at home. They would create their own backgrounds to match their character, or they would just put a sheet behind them to act as a green screen. 

Using different special effects, Hernandez was able to add all the members’ clips together. The cast members had fun with the special effects and even downloaded apps for voice overs and made their own funny costumes. 

Although there was no physical connection between cast members and an audience for the production of the play, the crew stayed strong and pushed through all barriers.

“There was a lot less of the social aspect of Masquers that the in person shows had a lot of, but we made the best of it, and we made a pretty fantastic product,” sophomore Brandon Klaff stated. 

“Everyone worked really hard,” Hernandez said, adding she was so excited to show what they were able to produce from behind a screen.