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Let The Great Folk Come: The First Revels Film

Kaitlin Resler
One thing is abundantly clear to anyone who has experienced Revels at Emma Willard School: the magic can’t be explained, it must be felt. For 106 years, Emma seniors have taken on the same roles (with some new ones), performed the same songs, dance steps, and script (mostly) in December. The Class of 2021 however, would present a different Revels. They were making a movie. 

In the weeks leading up to the premiere, the Emma Willard Community wondered, what will Revels be like this year? How could that magic happen without watching it in Kiggins? The unique challenges of the 2020-2021 school year included masks and physical distancing, especially in December, when COVID-19 cases spiked worldwide. December 2020 on campus was strange—the usual buzz that surrounded the transformation of the auditorium into the Manor House was missing. The traditional ‘revelizing’ of the senior class happened via video, and the secret of the casting had to be kept for almost the entire school year instead of just those few weeks of the fall semester. 

But all year, Revels things were happening. Theatre Instructor Erica Tryon found herself adapting the script once more, this time for the screen. In April, the senior class spent a week on set capturing their performances. Though the days were long, spirits remained high, and when filming wrapped the process of editing (thanks to Erica Spizz) and waiting began. 

Members of the Class of 2020 watch some of their 'dailies' to keep their moods up during long shooting days.


Such a momentous occasion called for something dramatic, and the red carpet was rolled out in preparation for the Revels film premier. Ninth, 10th, and 11th graders took their traditional walk through the tunnels (signing the walls) and out onto inner campus, dressed to the nines, to take their seats and await the seniors' red carpet debut.

Arriving in groups, the seniors took a moment to speak to the press (International Admissions Manager Preston Chang-Sundin and Science Instructors Alexandra Grimm and Sam Skott) before taking their own seats at the front of the audience. 
Any worries that this Revels experience would be anything less than the usual high-volume, high-energy experience dissipated as the crowd cheered (screamed) for each senior as their roles and iconic lines graced the screen. 
The Revels film is a unique experience—allowing the audience to experience close-up expressions of characters normally seen only at a distance and angels of dances usually reserved for only the choicest of seats in the auditorium. There was no less joy, or magic, at this Revels with its big screen and warm weather: now is always the time for revelry. 

Revels 2021 Premier Livestream Recording 
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    • The big screen for 'Revels' with the tower looking on in the background

    • Seniors sign their movie posters

    • Downtime: Macy McCann '21 as one of the Jesters takes a break between takes

    • Bethany Quist '21 as the wandering minstrel

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