Behind the Scenes of the Fall Play

Jenni Young, Staff Writer

One of the most exciting prospects about getting back to a more normal routine in society is the onset of live theatre once again. The past two years have been stripped of the community-building, uplifting, life-changing impact of live performing arts that used to be so widely available all around us. Students at Issaquah High School have deeply felt this disparity of loss. IHS senior Emma Bishop says, “I didn’t have theatre last year and theatre is my outlet.” For individuals young and old, theatre provides an irreplaceable sense of comfort and community. Many attempts were made to continue theatre in a virtual manner. However, IHS junior Gabe Dy says, “It is not the same type of connection. I think that bonding is really crucial to theatre.” Junior Abigail Roll says that theatre is “easier with the community of the actors” when compared to a virtual show that she participated in last year. These months were disheartening for many, but with the re-initiation of in-person school and live sports, actors at Issaquah High School waited patiently for their chance to be able to shine once again. Finally, after six months of gradual progress, theatre is finally making its mark again with the Issaquah High School Drama film production of “Northview High School Will Shelter You (If We Must).”

“Northview High School High School Will Shelter You (If We Must)” is a newly produced script that promotes messages of connection and friendship that are vital for students to hear during these challenging times. Since the script  is relatively new, there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to changing lines and overall presentation of the characters. Shannon Henderson, the lead director says, “This specific show was chosen because if we had to, it could all be done virtually.” Although the pandemic took away many beloved aspects of theatre, it also opened up new doors of creativity such as more setting flexibility. The plot of this particular play revolves around ramifications of the choice made by a school district to move students from Waterford High School to Northview High School following a school shooting. The script delves into mature topics such as emotional trauma and social struggles. Henderson says that “this show is about building connections after a really traumatic experience. Young people are stronger than we give them credit for, and they have that strength within them to build those connections to get through hard times.” The concurring themes of endurance, unity, and courage that are prevalent in this production are crucial to our world today. As society strives to manifest these strengths during such unprecedented times, as well as in the challenges of everyday life, this play is acute to every individual.  

Behind the scenes of this inspiring production, actors, crew, and staff have worked incessantly to produce this show for the community. The mask mandate, along with rules of social distancing have made the process of production infinitely more complex than most people can imagine. This includes finding places to record at the school, going outside in the cold weather to have the ability to remove their masks, scheduling zoom rehearsals, and maneuvering the logistics behind recording Instagram lives, Facetimes, and Zoom calls. IHS junior Kat Pontevedra states, “Me and my interacting partner will go into any scene via video call, record it, edit it, and put it into a google doc to further edit and compile it later.” This process requires the actors to operate applications and editing, all while striving to get a perfect take. After this, they send it to a professional video editor that Henderson had to seek out. Juggling these moving parts make the process extremely arduous. Even students that film scenes solely at school are not exempt from obstacles. Bishop says, “For the in-person scenes, we are outside under a covered area because it has been raining. The camera crew has been looking at angles and lighting to get it all right.” With the unpredictable state of Seattle weather, and the availability of the members of the cast and filming crew, in-person scenes are more complicated than they seem. The ability to rewatch the recordings has also created a higher level of perfectionism, as the actors can always just film it again! The struggle to combat the need to present yourself perfectly with the right lighting and angles has led theatre to be more tedious than ever before. 

However, despite these challenges, the cast and crew are thrilled for others to see the show. Roll says that she is excited for people to see what they worked with, “Theatre is strong, and the show goes on!” Senior Andrew Del Toro Gomez says, “I hope that people appreciate the fact that we’re still going, even if it’s a challenge.” As an Issaquah High community, it is up to us to support these students and teachers, so their extensive efforts will pay off. Henderson says, “The talent level of our students is just really remarkable. I just want the actors and crew to be showered in appreciation, that’s what I want. I want them to feel that from a live audience.”

The final film production of this play premiered in the IHS theatre at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20. As Issaquah High School strives to bring this wonderful art back, it is vital that we support them.