Performing from the SOUL

Theatre Company 11/12
Shawnigan’s Theatre Company 11/12 class delighted audiences around the world last week with a wonderfully witty production of 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine.

Every year over Spring Break, Head of Performing Arts Morgan McLeod chooses a play for his class to work on during the third term. This year, circumstances changed quickly over the break, making this year’s decision particularly difficult. Enter 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine, written specifically for our current situation. “Don Zolidis is an American playwright who primarily writes plays aimed at/for high school students,” shares Mr. McLeod. “He quickly wrote this play – a series of monologues to be performed over Zoom, hosted by two characters that tie it all together.”

In each monologue, characters take turns presenting handy solutions for “surviving” prolonged time at home. With themes including falling in love with an inanimate object, staging plays with pets or stuffed animals, dealing with no one coming to your birthday party, and how to achieve supreme laziness with just a little bit of effort, the monologues are at times comical, alarming and poignant. Each monologue is performed live and each actor is responsible for their “entrance” and “exit” by controlling their video feed.

Mounting a show entirely online has presented several unique challenges to the class. Unable to rehearse in person, students have spent much time on their own memorizing lines, creating characters, and deciding the layout of the “set” (their bedroom). The class has also come together to work as a group on Zoom, as well as in Zoom breakout rooms to get feedback on their performances – with a few extra evening rehearsals to allow cast members in Hong Kong and Australia to participate.

“It’s a weird, isolating experience – performing alone in your room, with no audience reaction, staring into the camera to try to connect with the audience and avoiding just looking at the screen,” shares Mr. McLeod. “But they are a committed lot, working well in our class time.” Thanks to that superb commitment, these talented students have overcome all obstacles thrown their way and have produced a high-quality show they can be proud of.

The final performance of 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine will take place on Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. as a Zoom webinar. Please click here to watch the show (must have the Zoom app).

We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.