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You wouldn’t think that such a close contact such as the drama classes would be able to continue after the coronavirus struck, but NS drama teacher, Alex Barlow, is trying all he can to keep everyone safe, and keep his classes up and running.

“There definitely is going to be some challenges,” said Barlow. “They find that singing is [one of the most], if not the most contagious activity you can do with covid. If someone has covid, and they’re singing really loud, with a choir or something like that, they can spread it really easily.”

Drama students now have to attend their classes wearing masks, and need to participate all while maintaining social distancing. Group projects have been restricted and students have been doing more and more individual work, but this seems to be taking its toll on inexperienced students.

“With newer students, freshman students, or just new students that I have in general, it’s taking more time,” Barlow said, “and it’s harder to connect with them, being so distant from them, and with their masks, but I think that it’s [also] a little bit harder to connect with their classmates.”

These practices were put to the test as students auditioned and prepared for their annual Shakespeare competition. But this year will be unlike any before. Students will not be able to attend in person and will have to perform their rounds without a crowd.  

“Shakespeare is incredibly different,” Barlow said. “Normally, [for] Shakespeare we go down to SUU and there’s 3,000 students there, and we get to see shows and participate in workshops then do all the rounds, and obviously they’re not doing that this year, so it’s all virtual, it’s all digital. So we have to record our pieces and send them in and we don’t go, so right now we’re working on that.”

But drama competitions were not the only upcoming event to be considerably altered. Many seem to wonder how the theater will be able to execute the anticipated musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” but the musical has been pushed back to near the beginning of April as a result of the coronavirus.

“The ideal thing with the musical is to do the full in person performance, which is why we’re pushing it back,” Barlow said.

Along with the musical being pushed to second semester, as of now, it will be expected to be done virtually if necessary. 

 “If you have a live performance, and you get a covid outbreak right before your show’s about to open, which has happened in some places in the state, you’re just toast,” Barlow said.  “You’d have to shut down the show, you’d lose all the money you made and wouldn’t get it back, and that is why I’m leaning so heavily towards doing recordings this way.”

But Barlow and his students are still excited for the new possibilities and experiences that are to come.

In the same effect, several changes have been put into place regarding the music classes here at NS.

“We’re doing our best to minimize any risk by keeping our masks on until everyone is ready to play,” said music teacher Tim Kidder. “We’re also limiting the amount of time during each class that we play by incorporating other activities like listening or solo pass-offs.”

Incorporating these protective measures will decrease the risk of passing on the virus, but  has made a noticeable impact on class productivity. Kidder has found that when the class is social distancing, it seems harder for the group to stay together.

“We’re starting to settle into our new routines,” Kidder said, “but we’re trying to work towards a smoother process that will maximize efficiency.”

But even with all of these newfound complications, students are making the best of it.

“The willingness of my students to work together has always been amazing,” said Kidder, “and I’m not surprised that they’ve stepped up to this new challenge.”