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Winter Play: 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine

Melissia Mason
As we passed the one-year milestone since the beginning of COVID-related restrictions, the Emma Willard School Theatre Department presented their second virtual production: 10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine. Appropriately, our boarding students were watching from their own post-Spring Break quarantine.

The play, which is arranged in a series of comedic monologues, is a pandemic-era script written by Don Zolidis especially for actors to perform online. From putting on a musical with your dog, to falling in love with an inanimate object, the suggestions for surviving time in isolation were full of laughs. 

Hosts Liv M. ’23 and Yolanda S. ’23 introduced the show with a flurry of dramatic sound effects, and offered commentary between each suggested aversion: 
  • “Fall in Love with Inanimate Objects” featured Tess J. ’22 as Peter, who fell in love with his basketball Spalding, and Ari I. ’22 as Lou, whose love affair with toilet paper made him the envy of all.
  • In “Perform Musicals with Your Pets,” Katie V. ’21 and Cordelia P. ’23 demonstrated both their own vocal talent and the incredible patience of their pets in re-enactments of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.
  • “Fun with Scissors—or So Much Crafts” featured Lucy C. ’21 demonstrating how relaxing origami is… or isn’t. Jenny J. ’22 set out to build a birdhouse, but instead found herself reflecting on why one would build a house for a bird.
  • In “I Am Good at Sports Now,” Tess and Katie both explored new-found talents worthy of ESPN—basketball skills (with a tennis ball) and the mastery of world-champion solitaire.
  • In “William Shakesbear” Cordelia and Lucy re-enacted Macbeth and Hamlet using stuffed animals. 
  • Jessica Z. ’22 and Ari shared the improbable choice of quarantine activity: “Catching Up on Your Studies.”
  • Jazz F. ’23 and Iren G. ’23 involved themselves in the dramatic lives of the wildlife outside their windows… squirrels and a spider. 
  • Lucy and Jenny demonstrated their ability to “Sleep, Live in Pajamas, Eat Chocolate.” 
  • Katie and Tess told their best “Spooky Stories.” 
  • Jazz and Jessica wrapped the show with their explorations of “Megalomania.” 

After much virtual applause, Director Erica Tryon led the cast in a live talk-back with the audience. Tess shares that, although in live plays she’s always avoided seeing herself act, this virtual platform has opened up new opportunities. “What’s great about recording yourself doing monologues is you can watch it, decide what you’d like to change, and do it again,” she says. “It’s a bit of a blessing in disguise to spend time working on it by yourself.”

Ms. Tryon shares, “The students who’ve involved themselves in the virtual productions this year have just been the most positive, lovely group of people to work with. Things are markedly different this year, but these young actors have made every minute enjoyable, which is great because my overall goal for the kids during this challenging time was really just to have fun.”

Bravo to the Emma Theatre Department on another excellent production—laughter is just what we needed to carry us through the end of the school year!
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    • Tess in "Fall in Love with Inanimate Objects"

    • Katie in "Perform Musicals with Your Pets"

    • Lucy in "William Shakesbear"

    • Jessica in "Megalomania"

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