Saugatuck Theatre Club persists during global pandemic

The+Saugatuck+Theatre+Club+premieres+their+play%2C+%E2%80%9CThe+Little+Mermaid%E2%80%9D+at+the+Remarkable+Theatre+on+Oct.+18.+

Alexandra Glickman ’23

The Saugatuck Theatre Club premieres their play, “The Little Mermaid” at the Remarkable Theatre on Oct. 18.

Alix Glickman '23, Staff Writer and Samantha Felner '22, Blue Staff Paper Features Editor

The world has been ever changing since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. But as all are taught from a young age, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  That is exactly what the Saugatuck Theatre Club did. When the school’s production of “The Little Mermaid” was cancelled in March due to the pandemic, the group came together with the innovative idea to create a movie that would later be shown to families and friends.

The show was scheduled to premiere on March 12; however, the club was notified of the show’s cancelation the night before. Play director Katie Bloom was proud of her students but distraught over the production’s cancelation.

There were tears both from students, parents and staff. After months of hard work, our beautiful show came to screeching halt just before the finish line,” Bloom said. “I promised them that we would come together again and put on the show that they had earned, the show they deserved.”

A few parents were able to watch the show that night as the club’s last rehearsal turned into their final performance. Bloom and producers overzealously applauded the students, and some parents were able to sneak a video on their cell phones, capturing the result of their children’s hard work. 

When The Remarkable Theatre, a COVID safe drive-in movie theater, opened in Westport over the summer, Bloom came up with an idea. The play would be filmed as a movie to be presented at the Remarkable Theatre on Oct. 18. 

There were tears both from students, parents and staff. After months of hard work, our beautiful show came to screeching halt just before the finish line. I promised them that we would come together again and put on the show that they had earned, the show they deserved.”

— Katie Bloom

In August, students recorded audios of their lines at home with the help of producers over zoom calls. They used a mix of the parent’s iPhone footage from March, and refilmed some scenes by safely gathering in garages with a green screen background.

Wearing masks, social distancing and working with new technology made the process challenging for all students, producers, directors and parents. Bloom explained how this process was especially difficult for students as the energy created when acting on stage is almost impossible to replicate by pasting some videos together. 

“They work off of the energy of their cast members and timing so some parts of dialog needed to be slowed down so it would fit together,” Bloom said. “I am used to being able to direct them in person and give suggestions on the spot. The kids really needed to be self motivated and remember all we had done in rehearsal.”

Sixth grader Sally Nathan, who played Ariel in the show, was very upset about the March cancelation and wasn’t originally thrilled to be participating in her elementary school play when going into middle school. 

I was upset that I did not get that opportunity to perform in front of my family and friends,” Nathan said. “But, after seeing how well they put the movie together, I was happy to have had a second chance to do it.”